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Wheeling Firefighters Collect Donations For Muscular Dystrophy

photo by: Alan Olson

Wheeling firefighters collect donations from motorists near the intersection of National and Mount de Chantal roads in their Fill the Boot drive to help fight muscular dystrophy.

WHEELING – Local firefighters walked the intersection of National Road and Mount de Chantal Road Friday to collect donations to battle muscular dystrophy.

Andy Joltes, a captain with the Wheeling Fire Department, said the firefighters were happy to be out collecting in person, after their Fill the Boot collection drives had gone virtual during the COVID-19 pandemic. The collection Friday was held by Wheeling Firefighters Local #12 with the International Association of Firefighters.

The funds collected will go to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, funding medicine and treatments to combat the disease, as well as to summer camp programs for affected kids. Two are held locally in Pittsburgh and Columbus.

“Just in the past seven years, the FDA has approved 17 different treatments, two just in March, from the money we’ve collected,” Joltes said.

“Some of this money also goes to summer camps for the kids, where they get to go spend a week … at camp with a group of kids who have the same disability. Some of them have said it’s better than Christmas for them.”

Joltes said their collection drives have gathered steadily more money over the years, with the last in-person drive gathering about $20,000. Their in-person drives are held twice a year. During the pandemic, virtual drives are held instead, which Joltes said brings in around 10% of what in-person drives typically do.

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