Highlands volunteer firefighters are taking part in a half marathon on Sunday, Nov. 15 to raise awareness and funds for Muscular Dystrophy Canada. (Highlands Fire Rescue Facebook page)

Highlands firefighters run marathon to replace annual boot drive

Fundraiser for MD puts boots on the ground

Although COVID-19 has kicked their traditional fundraiser to the curb, a group of Highlands firefighters is taking the high road in an effort to put the boots to Muscular Dystrophy.

When the pandemic curtailed the annual Muscular Dystrophy Boot Drive, the Highlands Volunteer Fire Department came up with a novel way to raise money and awareness.

Ryan Thirlwall and other volunteer firefighters will set out at 7 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 15 from the Highlands fire hall in full turnout gear with SCBA (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus) on their backs. They will complete a half-marathon later that day at the BC legislature buildings, with a goal of raising $5,000.

“We also want to raise a whole lot of awareness about MD,” said Thirlwall, chair of Highlands Fire Rescue’s muscular dystrophy committee. “We realize that 2020 has been a very trying year for everyone and funds are tight,” he noted. “But every dollar raised helps those who need it most, and there’s no better time than now for the community to come together and be the change we all want to see.”

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Devon Bailey, firefighter relations manager for the Yukon/BC branch of Muscular Dystrophy Canada, said that the pandemic has drastically impacted fundraising efforts by firefighters across the country.

“We are extremely grateful for the continued support by our firefighters in B.C.,” she said. “They have been and continue to be our most important stakeholder since 1954. Without them, we couldn’t deliver our mission for those we serve.”

Muscular Dystrophy Canada has been the leading voice for the neuromuscular community in Canada since 1954. Funds raised through donations support individuals impacted by neuromuscular disorders by investing in research, delivering critical programs and services, and challenging public policy. Programs and services play a critical role in providing information and support by funding equipment, providing access to resources and support systems, and treatment and trials in Canada.

To make a donation, visit the Highlands Fire Rescue’s Facebook page. You can also donate and access more information on muscular dystrophy at filltheboot.ca.

rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com

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District of Highlands