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WATCH: Ottumwa Firefighters Launch Annual Fill The Boot Campaign

By Nick Davis, August 31, 2017

Members of the Ottumwa Fire Department are giving up some of their free time in the next few days to raise money for their annual Muscular dystrophy Association Fill the Boot Drive.

Ottumwa First Class Firefighter Rodney Long says crews will be stationed at five corners, about two blocks from the Southside Fire Station, and at Venture Drive near Walmart.

“We’ll be here through Sunday, then we’ll have some off duty guys on Sunday and Monday,” Long told Ottumwa Radio News.

Ottumwa donors set a record with last year’s drive, raising $16,240.

“We do lead the state in how much, per firefighter, we raise,” Long said. “We were first place last year. We’re there pretty much every year.”

The money will be used to help children fighting Muscular dystrophy, such as Long’s own nephew, go to summer camp.

“I have two sisters and my nephew have muscular dystrophy. My nephew goes to MDA summer camp every year,” Long said. “It costs about $2500-3500 per child to send them to summer camp. For us to be able to come out here and the public donate their money. This is what it goes to. These kids can go to the camp and experience anything that a child without this disease can enjoy.”

In muscular dystrophies, abnormal genes lead to muscle degeneration. Most forms begin in childhood.

Damaged muscles become progressively weaker. Most people who have the condition eventually need a wheelchair. Other symptoms include trouble breathing or swallowing.

Currently, there is no cure for muscular dystrophy. It affects approximately 1 in every 3,500 live male births, or approximately 20,000 new patients worldwide each year.

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