Local residents rallied and accepted the challenge to help off-duty Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue firefighters and staff Fill the Boot for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Over the course of three days last month, passing motorists in Beaverton, Wilsonville, and Tigard dropped a total of $63,760 in donations into fire boots of volunteers staged at three collection sites.
Those donations will build on decades of research in the search for treatments and cures. It will also be used to support MDA’s life-enhancing programs, including support groups and clinics, and assist families with medical equipment and costs. In addition, funds will make MDA summer camp possible so kids with muscle diseases can enjoy a week of fun activities while gaining confidence and independence.
Members of Tualatin Valley Firefighters Union Local 1660 and TVF&R were overwhelmed by the show of support for local families who have been impacted by muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and other related life-threatening diseases that take away individual’s ability to walk, move, smile, talk, and even breathe.
“It’s amazing to be part of a community that cares,” said Firefighter Paramedic Trevor Nowak, one of the coordinators of Local 1660’s annual Fill the Boot fundraising campaign.
“The response from the community was incredible,” added Firefighter Paramedic Ryan Schenk, another Fill the Boot coordinator. “We are very grateful for all of the support we received and want to thank all of those who donated money to support the important work of the MDA, which does so much good for many families in our community.”
MDA serves more than 1,500 families across the state of Oregon and Southwest Washington with over 150 families in the TVF&R service area.
One Tigard family joined a representative of MDA in accepting a check from Local 1660 members on Tuesday.
Logan Briones, a 10-year-old Deer Creek Elementary School fifth-grader, was impressed by the amount of donations that poured in from the community.
“I think it’s really cool,” said Briones, who was diagnosed last year with limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2A that causes weakness and wasting of the muscles in his legs. “They are helping to support more testing to find cures.”
Colleen King-Showalter, director of business development for MDA’s Oregon and Southwest Washington Chapter, said TVF&R’s community set a state record in Fill the Boot donations for the organization.
“It’s very exciting to have a new record that provides another goal to reach to help kids like Logan,” she said. “We’re very grateful.”