Twin Ports firefighters take to the streets to fight muscular dystrophy.
The annual "Fill-the-Boot" fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association runs at three major intersections in Superior from 3-6 p.m. today, Thursday and Friday. Firefighters will be walking up to vehicles accepting donations for the MDA in large rubber boots.
"We hope to see everybody out there," said Superior Firefighter Neal Dwyer.
Both on-duty and off-duty firefighters will be at the following intersections of Tower Avenue and North 28th Street; Tower Avenue and Belknap Street; and East Second Street (Highway 2/53) and 18th Avenue East in Superior .
In Duluth, firefighters will be located at Central and Grand avenues; Central Entrance and Arlington Road; Woodland Avenue and Arrowhead Road; 40th Avenue East and London Road and 27th Avenue West and Superior Street.
Donations fund research and support services such as local loan closets and trips to Camp Courage for children with muscular dystrophy.
Hanna Larson of Superior said the week youth spend at camp is their "best week of the year." The 18-year-old volunteered as a counselor at the camp in Maple Lake, Minn., this summer. She saw the program make youth will muscular dystrophy feel like super-people.
"It was so cool to see their little faces light up," she said. Adaptive equipment and one-on-one counseling staff allow the youth to swim, play hockey and take part in myriad activities that they can't other places. The camp is set up to integrate all the children, whether they use wheelchairs, braces or get around without. For one week, it was all about them.
"They were just kids," Larson said. "Not children with disabilities, just kids."
She said the MDA has also provided a support group for her grandmother, who has ALS (Lou Gherig's Disease). The group is a place for her to let out her frustrations and share the good things in her life, Larson said. And the MDA loan closet works in tandem with the ALS loan closet to make sure people like her grandmother get the equipment they need.
The MDA is a nonprofit health agency dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy. The association gets no government funding and charges no fees for its services. The MDA relies on funding from private citizens to continue its work, said MDA program coordinator Kim Parmeter.
This is the second year Superior firefighters will walk through traffic collecting money for the MDA, although the fundraiser has been held for 55 years nationwide. Last year, more than $40,000 was collected in the Twin Ports. Area firefighters are hoping to raise $80,000.
Dwyer encouraged residents to grab a handful of change to keep in the car to pass on for "Jerry's Kids."
"Every penny counts," he said.