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Petawawa firefighters support muscular dystrophy drive

By Sean Chase, The Daily Observer

Sean Chase/Daily Observer
Town of Petawawa firefighters held their annual “Fill the Boot” fundraiser for Muscular Dystrophy Canada Saturday outside the doors of Independent Grocers in Petawawa. Colby Audette, who has been diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, was on hand to help out. In the photo are (left to right) Capt. Brodie McDonald, Colby, firefighter Andrew Sword and firefighter John Murray.

Sean Chase/Daily Observer Town of Petawawa firefighters held their annual “Fill the Boot” fundraiser for Muscular Dystrophy Canada Saturday outside the doors of Independent Grocers in Petawawa. Colby Audette, who has been diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, was on hand to help out. In the photo are (left to right) Capt. Brodie McDonald, Colby, firefighter Andrew Sword and firefighter John Murray.

 

PETAWAWA – Town of Petawawa firefighters stepped up to answer the call to those suffering from muscular dystrophy over the weekend, as the department hit the streets for their annual boot drive.

On Saturday, members of the department were stationed outside Independent Grocers on Petawawa Boulevard where they encouraged folks to drop a donation into the boots that are usually part of their bunker gear. Nearby, one of the newest apparatus' in the town's fleet was parked with its brilliant lights flashing.

“This fundraiser really allows us to give back to the community a little bit more than an emergency response,” said Capt. Brodie McDonald.

Once more, the first responders were aided by Colby Audette, the 15-year-old Pembroke teen who suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Colby’s neuromuscular disorder affects nearly one in every 3,500 boys. Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a term that refers to a group of muscle disorders in which the face, arms, legs, spine or heart muscles gradually shrink and weaken over time.

Canadian Fire Fighters have played an integral role for Muscular Dystrophy Canada since 1954. Every year hundreds of Fire Departments organize a Fill the Boot event in front of stores, parking lots and on street corners. Today, some 800 fire departments raise over $3 million annually. The Petawawa department have been holding the boot drives for the past eight years.

At one time, Muscular Dystrophy had a much higher profile with the popular Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon which was hosted from 1966 to 2010 by actor and comedian Jerry Lewis, who passed away in August at the age of 91. The telethon was discontinued in 2014. While the telethon is something most people remember growing up, its loss doesn't mean the cause is losing steam.

“The telethons were definitely a big help but more and more departments have come out to support this which makes a big difference,” added McDonald.

October is a busy time for the department as it marks Fire Prevention Month with open houses and school visits. McDonald added that for events like this there is no shortage of volunteers who want to step forward to help out.

“To be able to give back to the community that helped raise them and that they grew up in is something the firefighters enjoy,” said McDonald.

The Town of Petawawa Fire Department will be holding one more “Fill the Boot” at the Petawawa LCBO on Renfrew Street on Friday, Oct. 27 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

SChase@postmedia.com