Firefighters poised to hit the streets for fund raiser, honored for last year’s haul

Either Downey’s firemen are very convincing, or the city is a generous place.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association this week announced that Downey’s firefighters collected $19,300 in one day last year during the annual Fill the Boot campaign.

“A lot of departments don’t collect that much over a whole weekend,” said Brittany Veneris, a coordinator for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

This year’s Fill the Boot is scheduled for Sept. 24. During the annual drive, firefighters stand in the middle of the street and hold out their fire boots in hopes of convincing people to donate money to the MDA.

Along with research, the money pays for enrichment activities for those afflicted with muscular dystrophy.

Bryan Juarez, 8, started losing, his ability to walk when he was only 3 years old due to the onset of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, an aggressive type of muscular dystrophy that causes rapid deterioration of the muscles.

“Over time, he got weaker and weaker,” said Bryan’s mother, Christina Juarez. “He just started falling.”

Bryan, who lives in Norwalk, attended a City Council meeting with firefighter Pete Brown this week to accept recognition for last year’s donations and to announce this year’s event.

Bryan, who uses a wheelchair to get around, spent a week this summer at a special camp funded by the MDA.

He participated in archery, swimming, piano and other activities.

“Honestly, without assistance, we could not have afforded the camp,” Christina Juarez said.

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