Ajax Fire named department of the year for Muscular Dystrophy work


Published June 3, 2024 at 2:07 pm

Ajax Fire and Emergency Services has been dubbed the Canadian Fire Department of the Year due to its work fundraising for the Muscular Dystrophy Canada non-profit.

The department and the Ajax Professional Fire Fighters’ Association have raised money for Muscular Dystrophy Canada through their annual “boot drive” for the past 35 years. In that time, they’ve raised $327,700 for the organization.

The goal is to “fill the boot” with donations. In the last event, they set a new record by raking in $26,150.

Muscular Dystrophy Canada uses these funds to “to enhance the lives of those affected by neuromuscular disorders by continually working to provide ongoing support and resources while relentlessly searching for a cure through well-funded research,” their website reads.

The organization was founded in 1954 by Dr. David Green and Hamilton lawyer Arthur Minden. Though numerous charities at the time focused on muscular dystrophy, Green and Minden developed Muscular Dystrophy Canada into the largest of its kind in the country over the following years.

Minden in particular built partnerships with more than 400 fire departments across the country which remain the organization’s closest allies and “our strongest source of fundraising support to this day.”

Muscular dystrophy is a large group of more than 30 neuromuscular diseases which weaken the muscles closest to the skeleton. Roughly half of all cases are Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which generally affects boys starting around four years old.

By age 12 most patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy are unable to walk. This form of muscular dystrophy is also connected with a shortened life expectancy, though prognoses vary depending on the specific form. Cases are genetic, usually caused by the genes which create the muscle protein, dystrophin.

“The Ajax Fire and Emergency Services is extremely proud to continue to support Muscular Dystrophy Canada and receive their Fire Department of the Year award. I am honoured to work alongside such a dedicated department with members of the APFFA and other Fire staff, as they continue to raise money for such an important cause, which will help lead to finding cures for neuromuscular disorders,” said  Ajax Fire Chief Aaron Burridge.

The next Ajax Fire Boot Drive is set for this September.


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