The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) is the largest national sponsor of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). More than 265,000 members of the IAFF in the United States and Canada are pledged to saving lives, both as fire fighters and paramedics and as the strongest campaigners for the worldwide research efforts of MDA to eradicate 40 neuromuscular diseases. The contributions of the fire fighters also go towards MDA?s summer camps for children, professional and public health education, and other programs.
As the greatest contributor to MDA, fire fighters are everywhere in the efforts of MDA to raise money. The IAFF is the biggest sponsor of MDA's Labor Day Telethon and it contributed a record breaking $18 million in year 2003 as a consequence of the overwhelming enthusiasm and contribution of tens and thousands of fire fighters and paramedics across the US and Canada. The IAFF raised this amount throughout the entire year through their passionate Fill the Boot campaigns, in which fire fighters greet motorists, shoppers and others and ask them to donate money to MDA. This year?s upcoming IAFF-MDA events are expected to raise even more to cure these crushing illnesses.
The marriage between the devotion of fire fighters with the cause of MDA has emerged as one of the strongest example of selflessness in the history of charity, and IAFF General President Harold A. Schaitberger is committed to elevating this tradition to even higher levels. The IAFF is designing a plan to further expand and enhance the IAFF?s relationship and role with MDA.
Over the ensuing decades, the commitment of the professional fire fighters to the cause of MDA has further elevated their status as extraordinary professionals who not only put their lives at stake to save citizens from ruthless flames, but also give their time to save the lives of the innocent from equally merciless neuromuscular diseases. The devotion of IAFF members has not only helped MDA, but also united fire fighters in a community where they share their team strength and brotherhood to give better meaning to lives and hope for the future.