Camping on the roof for a good cause

3rd Annual Rooftop Campout for Muscular Dystrophy

Red Deer firefighters are raising awareness and money for people with muscular dystrophy from on top of the roof of Fire Station #2.

The 3rd Annual Rooftop Campout for Muscular Dystrophy campaign started Friday afternoon when four fire-medics — June Miller, Tyrone Brewster, Grant Wasylewich and Michael Schnare — took to the roof where they will stay until Monday.

They will sleep in cots inside a tent and will only be allowed down for washroom breaks.

“My friend’s father passed away a few years ago from muscular dystrophy so it’s something I’ve seen her struggle and battle with. When it actually came for a new group to go onto the roof I wanted to be part of it,” said Miller before the four got a lift to the roof from an emergency vehicle.

She said freezing temperatures on top of the roof will affect how their muscles respond and will give them a glimpse into the lives of people with muscular dystrophy.

“People with muscular dystrophy don’t have the three-night option and it’s all gone,” Wasylewich said.

Muscular dystrophy includes over 100 types of neromuscular disorders characterized by wasting away and progressive weakness of the muscles that control voluntary movement. Over time they may lose their ability to walk, speak, and even breathe.

Fire departments across Canada have raised over $85 million for Muscular Dystrophy Canada since 1954. The money goes towards the cost of mobility equipment and services for people with the condition, and for research to find a cure.

Ray Tessier, president of Muscular Dystrophy Canada Central Alberta chapter, said the volunteer efforts of firefighters mean a lot to families and people with muscular dystrophy like his wife Cathy.

“We’ve seen the results of what you folks are doing, the results of the money that’s going for some of the equipment that our chapter members are getting to make their lives a lot more livable, a lot more easier for them,” said Tessier, of Red Deer.

“You may not realize just how important what you’re doing is. It’s changing lives whether you realize it or not. And I hope in some way it’s changing your lives as well.”

Red Deer firefighters raised $15,000 last year. This year the goal is $20,000.

People can drop off donations at Fire Station #2, 5829 67th St., throughout the rooftop camp-out. A Boot Drive will also run from 12 to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday along 67th Street.

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