Help Merrimack firefighters ‘Fill the Boot’ for MDA

Members of the Merrimack Fire Department Local 2904, along with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, will kick off the firefighters’ annual Fill the Boot fundraising campaign to help save and improve the lives of people fighting muscle disease in New Hampshire.

Muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and related life-threatening diseases take away people’s ability to walk, move, smile, talk and even breathe.

Members of the Merrimack Fire Department Local 2904 will stand outside Greeley Street and Daniel Webster Highway with boots in hand for this year’s drive starting at 8:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 13.

"For more than six decades, firefighters have stood on the front lines for MDA, striving to make a difference in the lives of those affected by muscle disease," fundraising coordinator Michele Masse said.

"Firefighters dedicate countless hours of their time every year participating in Fill the Boot drives and at MDA Summer Camp. We’re grateful for the support of these inspiring, selfless individuals who have made a profound impact on our families’ health, well-being and quality of life, and we’re excited to make this year’s Fill the Boot campaign the most successful yet."

Funds raised through Fill the Boot events build on decades of research progress, helping push science to its limits in the search for treatments and cures.

Dollars raised also help support MDA’s life-enhancing programs such as support groups and clinics, including the MDA Clinic at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon and Manchester. They also make MDA summer camp possible so kids with muscle disease can enjoy "the best week of the year" at Agassiz Village in Poland, Maine, and nearly 80 other locations nationwide.

As the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s largest national sponsor, the IAFF fuels the MDA’s mission to find treatments and cures for life-threatening muscle diseases. In addition to Fill the Boot events, contributions from charity baseball games and other local events hosted or sponsored by the IAFF help support the MDA’s efforts to raise awareness and provide professional and public education about neuromuscular diseases.

IAFF support for the MDA began in 1954 when the organization committed to support the MDA until a cure is found. The IAFF raised $100,000 for MDA in 1955 and $1 million in 1970, and firefighters continue to raise the bar in their fundraising efforts.

In 2013, more than 100,000 firefighters participated in Fill the Boot events across the country and raised $26.2 million. To date, the IAFF has raised $558 million for the MDA.