RESTON, Va., Sept. 11, 2013 — Members of the Fairfax County Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics Local 2068 of the International Association of Fire Fighters raised a record-breaking $602,580 over five days to help find treatments and cures for muscle disease. They topped their previous annual fundraising record of $568,635 set last year.
The total makes the Fairfax County Fire Fighters’ Fill the Boot campaign the leading drive in the country, a position it has held the past three years. This is the first time any Fill the Boot drive nationwide has raised more than $600,000 for MDA. (Click here to download photos from this year's Fairfax County Fill the Boot campaign.)
“We deeply appreciate the work fire fighters in Fairfax County do for MDA families and congratulate them on a record-breaking year,” said MDA President and CEO Steven M. Derks. “Fire fighters are an integral part of MDA’s mission to end muscle diseases, and we know they won’t quit until the battle is won. They’re incredible allies to have in this fight to find lifesaving treatments and cures — simply put, they’re the best.”
Since 1998, the Fairfax County Fire Fighters have collected over $5.6 million for families affected by muscle disease in the Greater Washington, D.C., area.
“It takes a tremendous number of people committed to offering help and hope to make a fundraising record like this happen,” said Joel Kobersteen, coordinator of the Fairfax County Fill the Boot Campaign benefiting the Greater Washington MDA. “We would like to extend our thanks to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Fire Chief Richard Bowers Jr., DPSC Director Steve Souder, Police Chief Edwin Roessler and their senior staffs, Local 2068 President John Niemiec and the IAFF and Local 2068 Executive Boards, John "Sol" Solomita from Subway, the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Retirement Association, the spouses, families and active and retired public safety members and, of course, the Fairfax County citizens and visitors."
The top per-capita fundraising honors went to fire station 5, C shift in Alexandria with a total of $20,749 and a per capita of $2,305 collected per person. Station 40 in Fairfax was the top overall fundraising station with an incredible total of $33,874.
“We are so appreciative of Local 2068 and the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department’s commitment to MDA and their extraordinary Fill the Boot campaign,” said local MDA Executive Director Janice Reardon. “It does make a difference to all the people and families here who are living with muscle disease. They see these American heroes going out to support them, and it tells them they have strong partners standing by their side.”
The funds raised from Fill the Boot helps to provide comprehensive health care services to families served by MDA in the local community including medical care at MDA clinics, assistance with equipment repairs and needs, support groups and a special summer camp for children ages 6 to 17. It also helps to fund vital research in the search for treatments and cures.
In total, fire fighters from 14 departments across metro Washington, D.C., raised more than $978,000 for the Greater Washington MDA.
The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) became the first national sponsor for MDA in 1954, and over the years, fire fighters have raised millions to help improve and enhance the lives of those living with neuromuscular disease. Fire fighters have raised money for MDA through their participation in the annual Fill the Boot campaign, as well as by sponsoring golf and softball tournaments. Many also contribute some of their vacation time each year to volunteer at MDA summer camps across the country.
“There is no other charity that is closer to the hearts of our members than this one," said IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger." Until there is a cure, we will continue this nearly 60-year partnership.”
The International Association of Fire Fighters represents more than 300,000 professional fire fighters and paramedics who protect 85 percent of the nation’s population. More than 3,200 IAFF affiliates and their members protect communities in every state in the United States and Canada.
The Muscular Dystrophy Association is the world’s leading nonprofit health agency dedicated to finding treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neuromuscular diseases. It does so by funding worldwide research; by providing comprehensive health care services and support to MDA families nationwide; and by rallying communities to fight back through advocacy, fundraising and local engagement. Visit mda.org and follow us at facebook.com/MDAnational and @MDAnews.