CHICAGO, Sept. 4, 2014 – The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) raised more than $28 million over the past year to help the Muscular Dystrophy Association save and improve the lives of people fighting muscle disease.
“For 60 years, the men and women of the IAFF have stood on MDA’s frontline in the fight against muscle disease,” IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger said. “We know that the millions of dollars raised each year through Fill the Boot campaigns and other fundraising efforts are making a difference and getting us closer to treatments and cures. We are proud to be part of the progress in moving toward a world free of the harmful effects of muscle disease.”
Throughout 2014, MDA and the IAFF are celebrating 60 years of a partnership committed to providing lifesaving help for MDA families by funding research to find treatments and cures and by rallying communities to fight back. Vital funds provided by IAFF affiliates have long supported MDA’s world-renowned research efforts, life-changing health care services and community support programs, including MDA summer camp and advocacy efforts that involve local communities.
“For six decades, the IAFF has fought by our side, helping us hit important milestones that have improved the health and well-being of the families we serve, and we cannot thank IAFF and its loyal members enough for their unwavering commitment to the fight against muscle disease,” MDA President and CEO Steven M. Derks said. “The funds raised each year through the Fill the Boot program and other campaigns not only help us invest in vital research to find treatments and cures, but also to fund critical support and services for our families.”
IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger onstage at the 2014 MDA Show of Strength Telethon Aug. 31 to announce a record-breaking $28 million total funds raised. this year to help MDA save and improve the lives of people fighting muscle disease.
IAFF, MDA’s largest national sponsor, was recognized on the national broadcast of the MDA Show of Strength Telethon on Aug. 31 on ABC television stations across the country. Schaitberger presented the final total on the annual show alongside “Entertainment Tonight” host, and longtime MDA friend, Nancy O’Dell. Click here to see the IAFF/ MDA history segment shown on the 2014 telethon.
IAFF members raise money for MDA through their spirited Fill the Boot campaigns, as well as other fundraising efforts. Thousands of Fill the Boot drives have taken place or will take place across the United States this year, in which fire fighters hit the streets or store fronts and ask pedestrians, motorists, customers and other passers-by to contribute — money in the boot — for MDA.
IAFF members also dedicate time every year at MDA summer camp, where thousands of children with muscle disease experience a week of barrier-free fun while gaining confidence and independence. In addition, IAFF contributions from charity baseball games and other local events help support MDA's efforts to raise awareness and provide professional and public education about muscle disease, including muscular dystrophy, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and spinal muscular atrophy.
“We know we can count on the support from the inspiring, selfless members of the IAFF as we continue the fight for muscle health,” Derks said. “Together, we are progress.”
IAFF support for MDA began in 1954 when the organization committed by proclamation to support MDA until a cure is found, and the organization's unwavering commitment to MDA has remained strong to this day. The IAFF raised $100,000 for MDA in 1955, and $1 million in 1970, and fire fighters continue to raise the bar in their fundraising efforts. In 2013, more than 100,000 fire fighters participated in Fill the Boot events across the country and raised $26.2 million. To date the IAFF has raised $531 million for MDA.
About the IAFF
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 affiliates and their members protect communities in the United States and Canada.
The Muscular Dystrophy Association is the world’s leading nonprofit health agency dedicated to saving and improving the lives of people with muscle disease, including muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neuromuscular diseases. It does so by funding worldwide research to find treatments and cures; 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.
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