SAN MARCOS — San Marcos firefighters hit the streets Aug. 14 to ask residents to “fill the boot” with donations to help fight neuromuscular diseases. Firefighters held out boots for passing motorists to fill with donations at the four-way stop at Rancho Santa Fe Road and San Marcos Boulevard.
The San Marcos Professional Firefighters Association has been partnering with the Muscular Dystrophy Association in the annual fundraiser for nine years. This year’s goal is to raise $18,000.
“Who can say no to firefighters?” Angel Chanchea of the Muscular Dystrophy Association asked.
The annual fundraiser has been very successful. Last year San Marcos firefighters raised $20,000 and ranked among the top 20 fundraising groups in California during the one-day campaign.
There are more than 1,000 children and adults in San Diego County who are affected with one of the 43 types of neuromuscular diseases, Chanchea said. Lou Gehrig’s disease is the most fatal. The disease weakness and eventually destroys motor neurons that connect the brain with skeletal muscles. The effects of Lou Gehrig’s disease are loss of dexterity, paralysis and loss of respiratory function.
Firefighter Michael Vasile who was collecting donations in San Marcos has a brother who was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at age 5 and has been living with the disease for 17 years. This makes the fundraising very significant, Vasile said.
All funds raised locally go toward supporting San Diego County efforts to find a cure and aid those suffering from neuromuscular diseases. Donations support weeklong clinics, Rady Children’s Hospital in Kearney Mesa, and four San Diego research clinics, Chanche said.
Across the United States, fundraising efforts between firefighters and the Muscular Dystrophy Association have gone on for 55 years.