CATHEDRAL CITY – One of the busiest intersections in this community will become ground zero for Cathedral City Firefighters on April 25-26 as they once again hold out their boots to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

Cathedral City Firefighters Plead: Fill the Boot

Rick West, Jeremy Keenan

As many as 20 Cathedral City Firefighters will stand vigil in the intersection of Ramon Road and Cathedral Canyon Drive from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. both days. They will hold out their boots as collection tools. The goal is to have motorists stuff them with coins and bills to support MDA’s mission and fight against muscle disease.

Over the past five years, Cathedral City Firefighters have raised more than $65,000 for The Muscular Dystrophy Association, according to Heather Harvin. She is a development specialist for MDA in Metro Los Angeles. The Cathedral City crew has made this an annual tradition for more than a decade.

Corey Goddard, fire engineer, organizes the event for Cathedral Firefighters.

“I like having the opportunity to raise funds for an organization that helps individuals in need,” Goddard told Uken Report. “We get to see many people from the community, even though if it’s for just a brief second. We also see many visitors just landing at Palm Springs International Airport (who are) driving through. It’s a long two days of walking, but we enjoy doing the event as a group. We want everyone to come by, say ‘hi,’ and drop a dollar or two, or even some change.”

Cathedral City Firefighters Plead: Fill the Boot

Craig Sanborn, Nathan Kidd, Alex Pike, and Rick West

Muscular dystrophy is a group of diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass. In muscular dystrophy, abnormal genes (mutations) interfere with the production of proteins needed to form healthy muscle, according to the Mayo Clinic.

There are many different kinds of muscular dystrophy. Symptoms of the most common variety begin in childhood, mostly in boys. Other types don’t surface until adulthood.

There’s no cure for muscular dystrophy, according to the Mayor Clinic. But medications and therapy can help manage symptoms and slow the course of the disease.

Each year, firefighters take to the streets through Fill the Boot events across the country to help kids and adults with muscular dystrophy live longer and grow stronger, Harvin said.

Every dollar raised helps the MDA pay for groundbreaking research, care for kids and adults, and empower families with services and support in hometowns across America, Harvin said.

“The FDA has approved six drugs for neuromuscular diseases — four of which can trace their origins directly to MDA-funded research,” Harvin said. “With our collective strength, we work together to free individuals — and the families who love them — from the harm of these devastating diseases that take away physical strength, independence and life. Together, we’re actively promoting the scientific breakthroughs that will drive progress and catalyze results in 2019 and beyond.

Cathedral City Firefighters Plead: Fill the Boot

Jeremy Keenan with Fill the Boot unidentified supporters.

The money Cathedral City Firefighters raise stays local to help families throughout the Inland Empire Area, Harvin said.

Fill the Boot been a staple of fire departments for 65 years. The first Fill the Boot was in Boston in 1953. It made $5,000. Today that would a little more than $47,000, according to Lola Davidson, development director for MDA in Los Angeles.

Last year, firefighters raised more than $20 million all over the nation. In 2018 the LA Metro Region Fill the Boot made about $839,205, Davidson said.  (LA Metro Region includes: Orange County, Inland Empire, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Ventura County, Fresno and San Luis Obispo)

Sixty-nine Fire Departments in the LA Metro Region participate in Fill the Boot.

The Palm Springs Fire Department holds its Fill the Boot event on April 11 at VillageFest.

Cathedral City Firefighters’ Fill the Boot will be going on the first week of Stagecoach, April 25-26th if anyone would like to volunteer MDA would welcome the help, Davidson said. To get involved contact: Ari Hoyos at or click here.

One of MDA’s most known for and most loved programs that Fill the Boot pays for is MDA Summer Camp. Kids ages 7-17 with Muscular Dystrophy have an opportunity to go to camp at no cost to their families. This year Summer Camp is July 8-13. Volunteers are needed. Learn more here.


Top Photo caption: Firefighters from left to right are Rick West, Craig Sanborn, and Nathan Kidd. An unidentified supporter is on the far left.

Image Sources

  • Cathedral City Firefighters — Rick West, Jeremy Keenan: Cathedral City Fire Department
  • Cathedral City Firefighters Craig Sanborn, Nathan Kidd, Alex Pike, and Rick West: Cathedral City Fire Department
  • Cathedral City Firefighters Rick West, Jeremy Keenan: Cathedral City Fire Department
  • Cathedral City Firefighters: Cathedral City Fire Department