Fire fighting dad fights to find cure for son's muscular dystrophy

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Posted at 7:13 PM, Sep 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-30 23:36:02-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — Every year firefighters raise money to help children fighting diseases like muscular dystrophy by "filling the boot" but, this year the campaign became more personal for one Nashville firefighter.

For 17 years, Joseph Knipfer has fought fires and to some, they may call him a hero, but the Nashville fire captain says that title goes to his brave 3-year-old son, Barrett.

"We recently found out that my son was, he was diagnosed a few weeks ago. And I'd always in years past raising the funds I knew what we were doing was important," said Knipfer.

By looking at little Barrett you would never be able to tell he had the incurable disease; Knipfer says thankfully his son's condition so far is mild.

According to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, for more than 67 years, Fill the Boot has been a tradition. The Nashville Fire Department and IAFF Local 140 kicked off the fundraising campaign this week.

This annual event raises critical funds to help transform the lives of kids and adults with muscular dystrophy, ALS and related neuromuscular diseases.

"We're going to fight this fight with him and fortunately, you know, the fire department has stepped up and they're fighting this fight with us," Knipfer said, "My son needs to know that he's not alone in his corner, and it's been made clear to me that I'm not alone in my corner so you know, brothers and sisters here have stepped up and they're out there raising money and I appreciate the effort that they've gone into this campaign."

Through donations, the Muscular Dystrophy Association has been able to find better treatments, but the organization can't do this without the support.

MDA was hit hard by the pandemic last year and lost out on lots of donation opportunities.

"Firefighters weren't able to collect near as much money for this research, as in years past, so this year we're hoping that there's a surge and effort and there's a surge in donations to kind of pick up some of a lot of what was lost last year."

Nashville fire crews will be collecting donations from pedestrians, motorists, customers, and others on October 1 and October 2 starting at 8 a.m.