An annual tradition returns this week as local firefighters take to the streets to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association's "Fill The Boot" campaign.
Rhinelander Fire Department Local 1028, city officials and MDA representatives kicked off this week's campaign Monday morning. Firefighters will be positioned along intersections leading the Hodag Country Fest grounds and asking motorists to drop a donation into a fire boot.
Firefighter Andrea Boos says a long partnership continues...
"...We've been working together for over 12 years and in that time citizens have helped us raise over $100,000, in fact, it's closer to the $150,000 mark. MDA has worked with the (union) for over 65 years. It's been a very long partnership we've been very grateful to be a part of. This year we will be setting up at our normal location at the intersection of Stevens St., Dwight St. and (county) "W"...."
MDA representative Andrea Meulemans says the firefighters union is the longest-supporting group and said they would continue until a cure was found for neuro-muscular diseases like muscular dystrophy, ALS, and related diseases. In 1955, firefighters raised $100,000. In 1970 they raised $1 million.
Meulemans says with more money comes more research...
"The IFF and MDA are now collaborating to lead the campaign and encourage state to expand newborn screening, which includes adding tests for specific neuro-muscular diseases. This is so newborns with these conditions can be in treatments at a younger age to have the possibility to have treatment at a younger age and maintain development and maintain function...."
Meulemans says the money helps support MDA Care Centers at the Marshfield Clinic in Marshfield and Prevea Health in Green Bay.