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The Boot Is Back! International Association of Fire Fighters Launches 2021 Fill the Boot Fundraisers for the Muscular Dystrophy Association

Where safe, IAFF affiliates and their members resume in-person MDA Fill the Boot events nationwide to raise lifesaving funds for scientific and clinical research and care for over 300,000 families living with muscular dystrophy, ALS, and related neuromuscular diseases.

NEW YORK, NY – April 13, 2021 – Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) today kicks off over 2,000 Fill the Boot fundraising events in 2021 on National Boot Day, in partnership with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF). The events support more than 300,000 families nationwide living with muscular dystrophy, ALS, and over 40 related neuromuscular diseases.

The Boot Is Back! International Association of Fire Fighters Launches 2021 Fill the Boot Fundraisers for the Muscular Dystrophy Association
The Boot Is Back! International Association of Fire Fighters Launches 2021 Fill the Boot Fundraisers for the Muscular Dystrophy Association

The partnership between MDA and IAFF spans 67 years, beginning in 1954 when the IAFF signed a proclamation designating MDA its charity of choice and vowing to continue raising awareness and funds until cures are found. To date, the partnership fundraising activities of over 300,000 fire fighters nationwide has raised $672 million over nearly seven decades. In the past six years, these funds have led in part to 12 new FDA-approved treatments for neuromuscular diseases and supported newborn screening in many states across the country for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and Pompe disease.

The longstanding tradition of live Fill the Boot events was paused during the pandemic and pivoted to be held virtually. Online donations will continue, even as fire fighters once again take to the streets in communities across the country with boots in hand asking pedestrians, motorists, customers, and other passersby to support the mission. Online donations may be made here.

“For over 67 years, IAFF fire fighters have been resolute in our commitment to supporting MDA families. In 2021, we recommit to those families, as we return to our communities across the nation to Fill the Boot for MDA,” said Roger Lopez IAFF/MDA National Coordinator.

“We are forever grateful to IAFF for maintaining their strong commitment to the Fill the Boot program -- even during the pandemic!” said Donald S. Wood, PhD, President and CEO of MDA. “For the past year, IAFF has supported the program virtually through online donations – and while that will continue – we are thrilled that ‘The Boot Is Back’ in-person in communities across the nation. Without a doubt, much of the progress made in the field of neuromuscular disease research, care and advocacy, has been possible because of the decades of support and indefatigable efforts of the IAFF,” he continued.

The dollars raised through the Fill the Boot campaign funds the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s work toward its mission of transforming the lives of individuals with neuromuscular disease through innovations in research and care.

The campaign will be shared on social media channels using the #FillTheBoot #TheBootIsBack. Follow MDA on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and follow the IAFF on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Fill the Boot IAFF MDA logo

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 3,500 affiliates and their members protect communities in every state in the United States and in Canada.

About the Muscular Dystrophy Association

For 70 years, the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) has been committed to transforming the lives of people living with muscular dystrophy, ALS, and related neuromuscular diseases. We do this through innovations in science and innovations in care. As the largest source of funding for neuromuscular disease research outside of the federal government, MDA has committed more than $1 billion since our inception to accelerate the discovery of therapies and cures. Research we have supported is directly linked to life-changing therapies across multiple neuromuscular diseases. MDA's MOVR is the first and only data hub that aggregates clinical, genetic, and patient-reported data for multiple neuromuscular diseases to improve health outcomes and accelerate drug development. MDA supports the largest network of multidisciplinary clinics providing best-in-class care at more than 150 of the nation's top medical institutions. Our Resource Center serves the community with one-on-one specialized support, and we offer educational conferences, events, and materials for families and healthcare providers. MDA Advocacy supports equal access for our community, and each year thousands of children and young adults learn vital life skills and gain independence at summer camp and through recreational programs, at no cost to families. During the COVID-19 pandemic, MDA continues to produce virtual events and programming to support our community when in-person events and activities are not possible. MDA’s COVID-19 guidelines and virtual events are posted at mda.org/COVID19. For more information, visit mda.org.

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