WFFD and MLA fundraiser helping Texoma kid

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - The "Fill The Boot" campaign is underway in Wichita Falls to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy and similar diseases. Firefighters are collecting donations all over the city.

The money has helped create new treatments to help those affected live a stronger life. That's particularly true for one Texoma 4-year-old.

"This is how I walk," Eve Johnson said pointing to her wheelchair.

She was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2 when she was just 11-months-old.

"She likes to say she's special because she walks in her wheelchair," her mother Heather Johnson said. "I know a lot of children come up and asked her what is wrong and why she's in a wheelchair. And it doesn't bother her one bit. She tells them she has SMA and it's how she walks.

"At the time she was diagnosed there was not a treatment," Heather Johnson added. "No cure or anything. MDA was there for support and to help us with equipment and things like that."

But now there is a treatment.

"Just two days ago Eve had one of her doses of the new FDA approved drug for Spinal Muscular Atrophy," Heather Johnson said.

She said her daughter is a lot stronger today thanks in large part to the yearly campaign held by the Wichita Falls Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Wichita Falls Fire Department.

"At 4-years-old Eve understands what they're doing," Heather Johnson said. "Seeing people in the community stop by and wave, seeing them put money in the boot, she understands that's going towards research."

"She is such a sweet little girl," Executive Director of the Wichita Falls MDA, Lori Seymore said. "And it's pretty exciting to be involved with an organization that is behind helping to better enrich lives of those that are affected by muscular dystrophy."

How thankful are Eve's sisters for all the donations?

"I'm very, very thankful," Lailah Johnson said.

"Thank you MDA for donating and all the people that donate," her sister Saneh Johnson added.

"You never know from one day to the next what diagnosis might happen or anything unexpected that might come up," Seymore said. "So we do appreciate and thank the community for giving and having such big hearts."

Heather Johnson said she and her family would donate in the past, but never really knew where their money was going. Now that she does, she urges everyone who sees a firefighter with a boot and donate.

Firefighters will be out on the streets until Saturday at 6 pm.

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