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Marysville firefighters raise $15,000 for MDA

From left, Devan Shimabakuro, Chris Masters-Payne and Dale Shimabakuro help Marysville firefighters
From left, Devan Shimabakuro, Chris Masters-Payne and Dale Shimabakuro help Marysville firefighters 'Fill the Boot' for the Muscular Dystrophy Association June 5.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — Motorists driving through the intersection of State Avenue and Grove Street June 4-5 supplied firefighters from the Marysville Fire District Local 3219 with more than $15,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

"That beats last year by about 35 percent," said Jeff Bilow, secretary and treasurer for the Marysville Professional Firefighters. "It really helps to have the support and backing of the Marysville Fire District Board of Commissioners and the city of Marysville."

The annual "Fill the Boot" fundraiser in downtown Marysville was joined this year by Chord Shimabakuro and his two sons, 17-year-old Devan and 20-year-old Dale, both of whom have muscular dystrophy.

"The MDA helps fund equipment and repairs to that equipment," Shimabakuro said, noting the motorized wheelchairs both his sons were sitting in as they held fundraising signs for the MDA, "as well as research to find a cure for muscular dystrophy."

Shimabakuro added that his sons enjoy the MDA's annual camp, especially since other camps are ill-equipped to address the needs of young people with muscular dystrophy.

"It takes a lot to subsidize just a week at camp without parents for them," Shimabakuro said. "The MDA camps have trained nurses and screened counselors on site. It's a big deal."

Shimabakuro has been asked how he meets the challenge of raising and caring for children with muscular dystrophy, and his answer is simple.

"If you're a parent, you'll just do it," Shimabakuro said. "As a parent, what you go through to take care of kids with muscular dystrophy is humbling, so it's a godsend when other people take the time to help you. From playing sports to growing old and having kids of their own, there's so much that these kids won't get to take part in."

Marysville firefighters have been supporting the MDA with "Fill the Boot" fundraisers for close to a decade. The North Puget Sound Chapter of the MDA serves more than 400 families in Snohomish County, as they battle neuromuscular diseases. The money that Marysville motorists drop into firefighters' boots tends to stay local to their area.

The MDA is the non-profit health agency dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases by funding worldwide research. The MDA also provides comprehensive health care and support services, advocacy and education. The majority of contributions to the MDA come from individual donors. The MDA maintains clinics for area adults and children affected by neuromuscular diseases at the Children's Hospital Medical Center and the University of Washington Medical Center.

For more information on the North Sound Chapter of the MDA, you can call 425-259-4078, or e-mail cmackner@mdausa.org.

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