COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Springs Fire Department will be kicking off their annual "Fill the Boot" event to raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, with the money helping transform the lives of kids who struggle with the muscle-debilitating disease.
One local mom, Christine d'Andrea, says her son Christian Vaught was diagnosed with Charcot Marie Tooth disease when he was just two years old.
It affects one in 2,500 people and it's a progressive disease damaging nerves in the arms and legs.
But thanks to the money raised, he can go away for a week of uninterrupted fun and be a normal kid.
D'Andrea wants her son, now 11-years-old, to cherish his childhood as much as he can.
He's not just fighting the clock.
He's fighting the odds as he battles a form of muscular dystrophy, which is likely to leave him wheelchair-bound when he's older.
"It's hard for me to see the struggles he has to go through and to know there's nothing i can really do about it," D'Andrea said through tears.
Firefighters are helping raise money for kids like Christian so he can have opportunities, like go away to summer camp, which would otherwise cost thousands.
"If it wasn't for the donations, he wouldn't get to go to summer camp," D'Andrea added,
It's a special place for kids with muscular dystrophy, where they can just be kids.
"[I can] see my friends and get to be with people that are just like me," Christian said.
"He still gets to be normal," D'Andrea explained.
"Every year for one week [he can] get to do the things he wouldn't necessarily get to do," d'Andrea said.
Things like swimming, Christian's favorite activity.
"It lets me feel free of my disabilities because then I don't have to deal with them in the water," Christian said with a smile.
And it's all made possible thanks to the help of firefighters.
"Thank you for all you guys have done for kids like me, for us to go to camp and have fun, be like ourselves instead of worrying all about our issues."
This fundraiser is a partnership between the Colorado Springs Fire Department and the Rocky Mountain Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Firefighters will be kicking off the "Fill the Boot" campaign at the Local 5 Union Hall starting at 2 p.m. Tuesday.