IAFF Raises Record $27,530,000 for MDA
September 2, 2008 – The IAFF maintains its spot as the largest national sponsor of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) after raising a record-shattering $27,530,000 for the MDA 43rd annual Labor Day Telethon. The event, held at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa in Las Vegas, raised a total of $65 million.
“Jerry’s Kids are extremely important to the fire fighters,” says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. “We dedicate ourselves every year to standing on street corners and in intersections, filling the boot, so that children affected with muscular dystrophy and related disorders can receive crucial medical treatment and so that the search for a cure can continue.”
“Each year, I tell myself, ‘This has got to be it. There’s no way we can do better,’” says Jerry Lewis, MDA National Chairman and Telethon host. “I’m astounded to see that generosity driven by love and compassion has a greater capacity than I thought possible. I am awed and humbled by this response.”
The IAFF affiliate bringing in the most money this year was Houston, TX Local 341 with $568,000. “We have been in the number-one spot nine out of the past 11 years, a definite source of pride for us,” says Jeff Caynon, president of Local 341. “This event has always had a lot of support from our city’s citizens, but even we were surprised when we brought in $144,000 during the first four-hour shift.”
Also bringing in high numbers was Fairfax County, VA Local 2068 with more than $502,500. “Our fill-the-boot success really can be attributed to our great relationship with fire department management, elected officials, the community and our members,” says John Niemiec, president of Local 2068.
He adds, “Without the cooperation and support from these four groups, we would not be able to do all that we do for Jerry’s Kids.” Neimiec also attributes the fundraiser’s success to Local 2068 Communications Director and Fill-the-Boot Coordinator Joel Kobersteen’s organizational efforts.
The top earning states were Texas, Florida, California, Virginia, Ohio and Oklahoma. States bringing in significantly more dollars than last year included Minnesota, Wisconsin and California.
The contributions will enable MDA to fund research to find treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy and related diseases. Additionally, the money also supports MDA summer camp, medical clinics and provides financial assistance to families to purchase wheelchairs and other equipment.
Those still wishing to contribute have until September 4 to participate in the Jerry Lewis Telethon online auction featuring items donated by celebrities, MDA sponsors and others, including items from Harley-Davidson's 105th anniversary celebration.