The North Collier Professional Fire Fighters & Paramedics Local 2297 will continue its annual tradition of supporting the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s (MDA) national fundraising drive by collecting money at the intersection of Vanderbilt Beach and Airport-Pulling Roads in Naples for three consecutive Saturdays in March – the 2nd, 9th and 16th from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. each of the days.

Fire Chief James Cunningham, FF Sarah Whitlock, Lt Bryan Lopez

Local 2297 follows the lead established by the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) that has supported MDA since 1954. The IAFF represents some 313,000 full-time professional fire fighters and paramedics in more than 3,200 affiliates.

Each year, more than 100,000 IAFF fire fighters from around the country participate in the annual fundraising event with monies collected going towards funding research of treatments for 43 types of muscle-debilitating diseases, supporting MDA Care Centers, and sending kids to MDA Summer Camp.

“There is a 65-year tradition of fire fighters supporting the MDA effort to find research breakthroughs for these muscle-debilitating diseases,” notes Southwest Florida MDA Executive Director Cindy Nichols.  “We are proud to have the IAFF as our #1 national and local sponsor of MDA. Their support in this community alone allows for the provision of direct services and support to 600+ local families,” added Nichols.

North Collier Fire Local 2297 raised a record-breaking $24,685 for the Southwest Florida MDA annual fundraising drive in 2018. They hope to surpass that amount for 2019.

The monies raised by Local 2297 in 2018 were utilized to send 15 local children suffering from muscular dystrophy to MDA Summer Camp in Umatilla, Florida, at no cost to their families. MDA Summer Camps are designed to balance the fun and joy of camp with special programming that increases self-esteem, teaches skills needed for independent living, and helps youth build friendships and connections with others who have similar experiences and disabilities.

Three Local 2297 fire fighters attended the camp as well, and had the opportunity to interact with the kids and watch them enjoy the “best week of the year” as described by the kids to the fire fighters.

“North Collier Fire Local 2297 is honored to support the annual MDA fundraising drive, and is thankful for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of families in our community living with muscular dystrophy, said North Collier Fire EMS Training Lieutenant Bryan Lopez and coordinator for the Local’s fundraising efforts for MDA.


Photo Credits:  Cindy Nichols, SW FL MDA

North Collier Fire Control and Rescue District is an independent special fire district that annually responds to more than 19,000 calls for service throughout a 264 square mile area of Collier County, Florida. The agency’s all-hazards response includes basic (BLS) and advanced life support (ALS) medical response administered by nearly 200 Firefighter/EMTs and Firefighter/Paramedics as well as marine, dive and beach rescue, hazardous materials and technical rescue. A five-member board of fire commissioners, elected by District residents, governs the District. Visit www.northcollierfire.comfor more information.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association is leading the fight to free individuals — and the families who love them — from the harm of muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases that take away physical strength, independence and life. Monies raised for MDA are utilized for finding research breakthroughs across diseases, caring for kids and adults from day one of diagnosis and empowering families with services and support.  Visit for more information, and for specific information related to the history of firefighters’ support of MDA.