CFD Kicks Off 65th Annual Fill-The-Boot Campaign For Muscular Dystrophy

Bernie Tafoya
August 07, 2019 - 11:57 am
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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Chicago firefighters will be on street corners for the next three afternoons to raise money in the fight against muscular dystrophy, ALS and other related neuromuscular diseases. 

It’s the 65th year for the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Fill-the-Boot campaign.

"In its first year, which was in 1953, firefighters in Boston actually raised about $5,000 for the MDA. Last year, more than $22 million was raised by firefighters at more than 1,900 fill-the-boots across the country," said MDA vice-president Adam Cotumaccio.



Cotumaccio said Chicago firefighters raised more than $143,000 last year.

Chicago Fire Cmsr. Richard Ford remembers when he was a firefighter out asking people to fill the boot.

"There always was a welcome response. People opened their hearts and they understand they’re helping," Ford said.

Ford said that, over the past 12 years, Chicago firefighters have raised more than $1.6 million toward the MDA's efforts.

Chicago firefighters will be on street corners for the next three afternoons to raise money in the fight against muscular dystrophy, ALS and other related neuromuscular diseases.
WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

Chicago firefighter John Barry has taken part in the Fill-the-Boot campaign for a few years for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and said, "we’ve got everything from pennies to 50's. It just, honestly, depends on the person and the situation that they're in and everyone's pretty generous for the most part."

Amber Garr said her 4-year-old, wheelchair-bound son Liam benefits from the donations.

"Liam is going to have a lot more resources available to him in the future when he gets to go to camp that he’s looking forward to. It’s just opportunities that he normally wouldn’t be able to have," she said.

Amber Garr said her 4-year-old, wheelchair-bound son Liam benefits from the donations.
WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya


Cotumaccio said money raised goes for research, therapies and recreation programs for those with muscular diseases. 

"The IAFF (International Association of Firefighters) and the MDA are now collaborating on something incredibly exciting. It’s a new campaign to encourage states to expand newborn screening guidelines by adding tests for specific neuromuscular diseases so that all newborns with these conditions can have the best possible chances at receiving the care and support services they need as early as possible," he said.

He said that, in Chicago, the MDA has five care centers including the Robert and Ann Lurie Children’s Hospital, Northwestern University, Rush University Medical Center, Shriner’s Hospital, and the University of Illinois. 

Chicago firefighters will be on street corners for the next three afternoons to raise money in the fight against muscular dystrophy, ALS and other related neuromuscular diseases. .
WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

Chicago Firefighters Union President Jim Tracy encourages people to give and said, "if you can’t give, how about a peace sign? How about a little togetherness in the city of Chicago?"

Firefighters will be out on street corners Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.