Kicking neuromuscular disorders to the curb

Justin Crann
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MJFD, Muscular Dystrophy Canada pair up to raise funds

Members of the Moose Jaw Fire Department and Muscular Dystrophy Canada teamed up to give Winter the Boot Saturday.

Firefighter Gord Hewitt (left) and MJFD mascot Sparky pose for a photo on the ladder atop a fire truck outside Canadian Tire Saturday. Hewitt and Sparky were two of the MJFD staff on hand to raise funds for Muscular Dystrophy Canada during the Give Winter the Boot fundraiser.

Two boots in fact — stuffed with cash and cheques that are earmarked to help people living with neuromuscular disorders in Saskatchewan.

"Last year across Canada, firefighters raised $3.2 million for us, so they're our largest supporters and biggest fans," said Tammy Reihl, the fundraising and community development co-ordinator for Muscular Dystrophy Canada. "Across Canada some firefighters have been camping out on roofs for days … We thought we'd do a little bit of a twist in Saskatchewan, because we have really long winters.

"Firefighters agreed to hold an event with us called Give Winter the Boot, and this is their way of doing exactly that — for a good cause," she added.

According to Reihl, there are approximately 250 registered Muscular Dystrophy Clients in Saskatchewan, with roughly one quarter of those clients living within our region.

Those clients could be afflicted with any of 160 different types of neuromuscular disorder, all of which fall under the organization's umbrella of support.

"Each different type (of disorder) comes with its own unique set of problems, but a common denominator is that those with the disorder have their muscles continuously weakening and wasting away, impacting their ability to walk, talk, swallow and in some cases breathe," said Reihl.

There is no known cure for the disorders, but some of the money raised is put toward research into finding one, she said. Money is also allocated to supplying clients with the equipment and support they need to lead happier, longer lives.

Reihl said Muscular Dystrophy Canada is "a smaller organization," and are always happy "when people who are well-known in our community are supporting us.

"It just helps to promote awareness of what neuromuscular disorders are," she added.

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Organizations: Muscular Dystrophy Canada

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Canada

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