Annual Fill the Boot fundraiser will be held Aug. 11 and 12
The Stevens Point Fire Department and International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Local 484 will again team up with the Muscular Dystrophy Association for the annual Fill the Boot campaign to raise money for local programs for children as well as research to battle muscular dystrophy.
From noon to 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11, and Friday, Aug. 12, firefighters and volunteers will take to the corners of Main and Division streets to collect donations from passing motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to benefit the local chapter of the MDA.
The Stevens Point Fire Department said this year’s fundraising goal is $16,000.
“In 2015, Stevens Point firefighters and Local 484 raised $15,363 from the generous residents of Stevens Point. This was $5,000 over 2014’s total, so that just shows right there the generosity of the community, and we hope to see the same kindness next week,” said Heather Buchberger, Muscular Dystrophy Association fundraising coordinator.
Nationally, firefighters raised $22.7 million last year for the MDA, Buchberger said.
“What’s really amazing about that total is the fact that MDA put $28 million just into research last year. So, the money raised by firefighters practically paid for the MDA’s research,” she said. “To date, the IAFF has raised more than $583 million for MDA.”
Locally, the money raised by the Stevens Point Fill the Boot Campaign will remain local and primarily be used for programs such as the MDA Summer Camp for children with muscular dystrophy.
“If you ask any kid that has a form of muscular dystrophy, their favorite part is the MDA Summer Camp,” said Buchberger. “For thousands of kids suffering from muscular dystrophy, MDA provides a week of ‘barrier-free’ fun while (giving kids) confidence and independence at summer camp. The kids enjoy safe activities that are designed for their abilities from swimming to sports to arts and crafts and so much more.”
“In the fire service, we pride ourselves with helping those in our community and it means a great deal to the Stevens Point Fire Department and Local 484 to know that this money stays local and goes to help find a cure for the types of muscular dystrophy,” said Tom Wastart, a member of the Stevens Point Fire Department and Local 484 for nine years.
“Over the past nine years, I have learned about the many trials and tribulations that these kids endure. I’ve been to the summer camp several times and have seen the joy that it brings to these children,” Wastart said. “They call it ‘the best week of their life.’ They get a chance to be themselves with others who have similar challenges. This opportunity would not be possible without the generous donations provided by the residents of Stevens Point and Portage County.”
“Now is an exciting time for MDA families, thanks in part to the participation of firefighters in the Stevens Point community, we anticipate more treatments and cures in development in the next five years than in the past five decades,” said Buchberger.
Buchberger said the funds raised also fund free health care for MDA families as well as support groups for patients suffering from the disease.