OLDS — The Olds Fire Department crushed its fundraising goal for muscular dystrophy last weekend by raising $18,940, far above their initial $10,000 goal.
To raise funds for the cause, members of the fire department camped out on the fire hall roof from noon, Friday May 13 to noon, Sunday, May 15.
Muscular dystrophy is a collection of rare inherited conditions that cause muscles to weaken and break down over time. As a result, victims can lose the ability to walk and may eventually need a wheelchair to get around.
There’s no known cure for the disease, but some treatments can help patients cope with it to some degree.
This was the second straight year that the rooftop campout was held.
Firefighters were supposed to camp out on the roof last year as well, but COVID-19 restrictions put an end to that. Instead, Rescue Randy, a mannequin, was placed up on the roof.
He didn’t last up there very long either and was taken down midway through the month when a thunderstorm rolled through.
Last year, about $2,000 was raised for muscular dystrophy.
Initially, this year’s fundraising target was $10,000, the same as last year’s goal.
But midway through the weekend, firefighters had already raised $11,000, so the target was raised to $20,000.
They didn’t reach that second goal, but Nikolaus Nieder, who helped organize the event along with April Webb and Shawn Rigsby, is still pleased with how much money was raised.
"We did a count last night, 11-grand, so we decided to raise the bar to 20 (thousand),” he said during an interview on May 14.
“I love it. This is great. I was so worried about, like, not reaching 10, I was, what do we do? I tried my best. But the community was great, just so much support from everybody.
“We had good businesses, they all pitched in. Food for the guys. Everybody came together and pitched in, it was great,” he added.
“I think it's because Olds (is) such a great community, Nieder wrote in a text later. “They just got together and helped us to exceed our original goal.”
Some extra attractions were added this year to spur awareness and fun.
On Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, REFIT Sundre, a company that encourages cardio fitness in a dance format, led some fun fitness sessions from atop a flatbed truck.
Donations were also solicited on the street outside the fire hall.
For a $40 donation, donors could receive 2022 rooftop campout T-shirt shot to the ground by firefighters from a cannon on top of the roof.
Nieder figures the T-shirt cannon was a factor in this year’s success.
"Everyone loved it and loved to catch the t shirt,” he wrote. “I guess you don't see that every day.”