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Falcon firefighters raise money for muscular dystrophy

On Sept. 1, the Falcon Fire Protection District completed a six-week drive to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The Falcon firefighters collected $12,700 to help fund research, treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy and related diseases.Ryan Malicki, FFPD firefighter and co-organizer of the Fill-the-Boot campaign, said the department has participated in the fundraiser for 11 years. Each year is different, raising anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000, he said. “The station set a goal of $20,000 this year, but with the economy, people still want to give, but couldn’t as much,” Malicki said, adding that the $12,700 is still a great number.To raise money, firefighters spent two hours per shift at various locations in Falcon, he said. “I collect more money when I’m in my gear, so I’m burning up on the hot days, but I’m always in gear,” Malicki said.As the population and traffic in the area has increased, Malicki said the department is moving away from standing in the intersections and spending more time at retail locations such as Safeway and Wal-Mart.Firefighters look forward to the fundraiser each year, he said. They are generally well received, and he said it is a great opportunity to get out in the community, raise money for a good cause and also tell people a little more about what they do.”Sometimes, we get comments from people who think we’re raising money for the station. They say ‘we pay taxes for that.’ But none of the money goes to the department,” he said. “It all goes to help kids with muscular dystrophy.”Bill Glanz, International Association of Fire Fighters assistant press secretary, said Fill-the-Boot and other fundraisers for MDA have been sponsored by IAFF since 1954. Since then, IAFF has raised over $300 million for MDA.Several families in the Falcon and Black Forest areas benefit directly from the fundraising. Malicki said, in addition to research, the Fill-the-Boot campaign helps provide medication and wheelchairs, which can cost $2,000 to $15,000 depending on the needs and severity of the child’s disability.Fill-the-Boot also sponsors children who want to attend an annual summer camp.”Every year, these kids can go to a seven-day camp where they can do whatever they want – swim, play, just be kids,” Malicki said. “There are hundreds of kids there just like them and they are so happy and excited to be there and they don’t have to worry about being different.”

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