CFD firefighters net more than $130,000 to help in the fight against Muscular Dystrophy

Columbia Richland firefighters marked the success of the department’s 2019 ‘Fill the Boot’ campaign as they presented a ceremonial check to the Muscular Dystrophy Association on June 12, 2019.

From March 20 through March 22, CFD fire crews collected donations from the public at 17 total intersections in the City of Columbia and Richland County. By the end of the campaign a grand total of $130,005.68 was raised.

All of the funds will go to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association in providing patient care services for MD in the Columbia area as well as Charleston and Greenville. Each year the campaign also helps local children living with MD attend summer camps.

“This is where all the hard work truly pays off,” said Columbia Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins, “Our firefighters put a lot of time and effort into collecting and they do it all knowing that every dollar raised will make a huge difference for the MDA. I am proud of the great partnership we have with the organization and our joint effort to help those living with neuromuscular diseases.”

“I would also like to give a resounding thanks to our leaders in the City of Columbia and Richland County for their yearly support of the campaign by allowing us to collect on the streets,” Chief Jenkins added.

Muscular Dystrophy is a group of diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass in patients. Complications from MD can lead to trouble walking, curvature of the spine and problems with the heart, breathing and swallowing. Across the U.S. hundreds of thousands of people are impacted by MD diseases.

In attendance to accept the check for the Muscular Dystrophy Association was Suzanne Bland, who is executive director for MDA Greater Carolinas.

“For more than six decades, firefighters have fueled MDA’s mission to find treatments and cures for muscle-debilitating diseases, and the 2019 Columbia Fire Department ‘Fill the Boot’ results are a perfect example of their dedication,” Bland said, “We are extremely grateful to have the support of these truly selfless heroes, as well as the entire Midlands community. It is with their generosity that we will be able to empower MDA families with life-enhancing resources and support, including the MDA Summer Camp and the MDA Care Centers, that open new possibilities and maximize independence so our MDA families can experience the world without any limits.”

MDA is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy through worldwide research. The association also provides comprehensive health care and support services.

MDA’s relationship with the Columbia Fire Department goes back more than 50 years. CFD’s ‘Fill the Boot’ campaign grew in the late 1990’s when our firefighters were allowed to collect in the intersections and on duty. At that time, the department was inspired by Taylor McEntire, the grandson of one of our retired battalion chiefs. Taylor was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. To this day his spirit continues to be a driving force behind ‘Fill the Boot’ that has helped families throughout the Midlands.