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MDA calls local firefighters heroes for on-going fund-raising efforts; Jerry Lewis telethon to be held Monday

By Staff | Aug 30, 2008

Hurricanes and heat are keeping Cape firefighters off the streets for their usual Labor Day weekend boot drive to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, according to MDA officials, but similar efforts during the year play a crucial role in fund-raising efforts for the organization.

Cape Coral firefighters have already raised more than $19,000 for MDA from fund-raising efforts in March, and they may hold another boot drive later this year, said MDA officials.

“They’re local heroes for what they do, but they’re tremendous heroes to the families served by the MDA,” said the organization’s local district director, Marty Moorhead. “The International Association of Firefighters is our No. 1 sponsor. They’ve been with us from the very beginning.”

The relationship between firefighters and the MDA is a longstanding one, reaching back to 1950 when a group of parents with children suffering muscular dystrophy — one of whom was a firefighter’s child — a group of adults with muscular dystrophy and a physician-scientist studying the disorder formed the organization.

“Firefighters in the state of Florida are No. 2 in the nation,” Moorhead said of their fund-raising efforts for the MDA.

Meanwhile, Cape Coral Mayor Eric Feichthaler has declared the week of Aug. 25 as “Firefighter Appreciation Week,” in honor of the firefighters for their efforts.

“They’re important in numerous ways,” Feichthaler said. “The main thing is the safety of our community, our lives, our health and our property. We now have a better insurance rating… because of fire protection in Cape Coral.”

Feichthaler commended the Cape Coral Fire Department for its work with the MDA, which will help pay for health care services for a number of local families living with neuromuscular disease.

“I’ve grown to respect the work of our Fire Department over the past three years,” Feichthaler said.

The annual Jerry Lewis MDA telethon will air locally on Monday on Fox 4 Now.

The MDA is a voluntary health agency working to defeat 43 neuromuscular diseases through research throughout the world, comprehensive services and professional and public education, and is funded almost entirely through private contributions.