September is Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Month, and no one helps us spread awareness of neuromuscular disorders like our clients and our close friends, the Fire Fighters of Canada.
Fire Fighters share a unique and special bond with both Muscular Dystrophy Canada, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association in the United States of America. In the same year MDC became an organization, 1954, the IAFF resolved to support muscular dystrophy associations to help make their campaigns a success.
Today, we are still working together providing support and funding for assistive devices, and research towards a cure. We asked our Fire Fighter friends from across Canada to describe their connection to MDC and those living with neuromuscular disorders:
“I am one of the co organizers of our Dauphin Fire Department Rooftop Campout for Muscular Dystrophy. I am inspired to see families affected by muscular dystrophy overcome their challenges and live life to the fullest. I am proud to be part of this team, and I will continue to fight alongside Muscular Dystrophy Canada until a cure is found. I started this because I knew our Department, Members and Community would stand behind it. We help people, and those that need our help we step up for them. I am honored to be able to make a difference.”
Dauphin Fire Department – MB
“I started fundraising for Muscular Dystrophy when I joined Tumbler Ridge Fire Department. Through the years, seeing the positive outlook and courage to overcome so many obstacles people with neuromuscular disorders face keeps me motivated to continue to fundraise until there is a cure. Their never give up attitude when faced with these challenges has shown me to never give up when faced with my own.”
Tumbler Ridge Fire Department
Northern Region Advisor – BC/Yukon
“Tradition, commitment and hope are words that I use to explain to people what our relationship is with Muscular Dystrophy Canada and those affected by neuromuscular disorders. The fire service took on a commitment in 1954 to support this charity. We will continue to fundraise, be advocates and support them, with the hope that a cure will be found. Great strides have been taken allowing people with neuromuscular disorders to live better quality of lives. I’ve had the opportunity over the last 15 years to attend conferences, events & meet the people and families who are affected by neuromuscular disorders. Their positive attitude and outlook on life inspires me to continue our efforts. Listening to the researchers, I know that day is on the horizon. Together we can make muscles move!”
Captain Bob Patton
Nelson Fire Rescue
Nelson PFFA Local 1343
BC Rep NFFRC
“I started doing this work, and continue to do so, because of the people I have met. Some of the people I drove early in my career, passed away at an early age; now I have many friends affected by neuromuscular disorders, some well into their adult lives. I like to think the work of all the Fire Fighters makes a huge difference for those affected by making it easier for equipment to be funded and for researchers to work at searching for a cure.
The people I have met – those affected by neuromuscular disorders, their families, other Fire Fighters, staff, board members, researchers and volunteers – have all made me a better, more compassionate, and focused person. Leana and I even rode our motorcycle across Canada this year, which we probably wouldn’t have done if I were not attending the Atlantic Fire Fighters Conference during Youth In Action Atlantic.
After over a decade of fundraising for Muscular Dystrophy Canada, two of my siblings were diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, so the quest for a cure continues.”
Langford Fire Rescue
Lower Vancouver Island Region Advisor – BC/Yukon
National Fire Fighter Relations Committee Chair
“I started supporting Muscular Dystrophy Canada before I became a Fire Fighter when I would help my Dad and other members of the Fire Department with the Annual Boot Drive.
When I became a Member of Ladysmith Fire/Rescue, I took a full and active role in the fundraising and eventually was asked to represent the Department at the Annual Conference and Banquet in Vancouver. That weekend changed my life. That weekend listening to clients share their stories and relay how the Fire Fighters have impacted their lives made an immediate impact. I approached the Fire Fighter Advisor for my region and said, ‘If there is anything I can do to help just let me know!’
I became convinced that no matter what we did we needed to do more, and started working on ways to increase our efforts in both fundraising and raising awareness. Ladysmith Fire/Rescue still has it Annual Boot Drive, and now we also have a booth at our town’s annual Christmas Festival of Lights, as well as a Haunted House for Halloween. We are also major supporters of the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy in our area, which I am also the local coordinator of. I have had many great opportunities since becoming involved with Muscular Dystrophy Canada, but nothing compares to the friends I have made with the people within this organization, fellow Fire Fighters, employees, and clients alike.”
Dwain King – Ladysmith Fire/Rescue