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BellaOnline's Neuromuscular Diseases Editor

Fill the Boot for the MDA

Sponsored by the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF), the Fill-the Boot Campaign has been raising money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) since 1954. The international Association of Firefighters is the largest national sponsor of the MDA.

Funds raised through Fill-the-Boot support research to find better treatment for neuromuscular diseases. These funds support important MDA services such as summer camps and support groups as well. This program also raises awareness about neuromuscular disease in the community.

During Fill-the-Boot Campaigns, U.S. and Canadian firefighters and paramedics with the IAFF collect donations at busy intersections, sports events, and shopping centers. Donations are collected in fire fighters' boots.

This fundraising event was originally founded by George Graney, a now-deceased fire fighter in South Boston. Graney’s friend, Charlie Crowley had two sons with muscular dystrophy. During its first year, twenty fire fighters went door to door, raising $5000.

Fill-the-Boot has since expanded to a nationwide fundraiser. In 2006, the campaign raised a record breaking $23.5 million. In 2009, the IAFF broke their own record again, raising $27.5 million. IAFF members had raised more than $375 million by 2009, according to the IAFF website.

Fire fighters and the IAFF have been involved with the MDA in other ways as well. The IAFF supports the yearly MDA Labor Day Telethon as its biggest sponsor. On a more personal level, every summer, thousands of firefighters also volunteer their time to serve at MDA summer camps.

So, when you see your local firefighters campaigning to raise funds for the MDA, make sure to say thank you. Let them know how the MDA has helped you and your family. And, make sure to help fill the boot!


IAFF website, (2013). IAFF and MDA: A Proud Partnership. Retrieved http://www.iaff.org/MDA/history.asp on 5/10/13.

IAFF website, (2009). It’s Time to Fill the Boot! Retrieved from http://www.iaff.org/09News/080509MDA.htm on 5/10/13.

MDA website, (2011). International Association of Firefighters. Retrieved from http://mda.org/sponsor/international-association-firefighters-international-association-fire-fighters on 5/10/13.

Quest Staff, (2007). MDA Matters – July-August 2007.. Quest 14:4. Retrieved from http://quest.mda.org/article/mda-matters-july-august-2007 on 5/10/13/.

Quest Staff, (2013). MDA Matters. Quest 20:2. Retrieved from http://quest.mda.org/article/mda-matters-spring-2013 on 5/10/13/.

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