Thanks for contributions

Published 9:44 pm Monday, October 8, 2018

To most folks who participated in Suffolk’s annual Fill the Boot campaign back in May, their contribution was just a few coins dropped in a firefighters’ boot in front of a retail store or convenience store.

But it all added up into a $60,200 contribution to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Suffolk Fire & Rescue and Local 2801 Professional Firefighters made the contribution during last week’s City Council meeting.

Suffolk firefighters have been raising money with the Fill the Boot campaign since 1999, and more than $700,000 has been raised in that time.

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Muscular dystrophy is a group of devastating diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass. The most common types begin affecting children, although others don’t show up until adulthood. Unfortunately, there is no cure for muscular dystrophy, so many sufferers aren’t able to have a full childhood and face becoming more and more ill throughout their short lives.

Fortunately, the Muscular Dystrophy Association offers resources for families, events, summer camps for children to have similar experiences to their peers, and more. The organization also makes grants to researchers who are seeking a cure and better ways to manage the disease.

The mothers of two boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy spoke last week and talked about the impact the MDA has had. Mandy Williams and Amanda Morean both have young boys — Cole, 8, and Logan, 6, respectively — with the illness. Support from the Fill the Boot campaign helped fund a clinical trial in which Cole is participating, Williams said. MDA of Greater Virginia Director Stephanie Blazek said the FDA recently approved six drugs to help with symptoms, four of which can be traced to MDA-funded research.

Suffolk’s firefighters and the community who supported the Fill the Boot campaign over the years has good reason to feel proud of what they’ve done. The Muscular Dystrophy Association deserves the support it gets, and we’re pleased Suffolk’s firefighters are able to help out.