For years, firefighters across the nation have filled boots in support the valuable work done by the Muscular Dystrophy Association. This year that mission is a little more personal for Midlothian Fire Chief Dale McCaskill.

McCaskill's son, Seth, was diagnosed with Becker’s muscular dystrophy.

The Mayo Clinic states that Becker’s is a group of diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass. In muscular dystrophy, abnormal genes interfere with the production of proteins needed to form healthy muscle.

McCaskill stated during his 30-year career in the fire service, firefighters have always worked with MDA and Jerry’s Kids. However, he never fully understood the impact until this past summer.

“All through high school, and back when he took swimming lessons, he always had cramping issues in his muscles. He would cramp any time that he swam and when he ran cross-country in high school,” McCaskill said. “He would run cross-country and every time he would run he would cramp. He would figure out a way to do it. He might have to stop and walk a little bit, but he would finish. We were not really sure what was causing that.”

McCaskill stated they went to several doctors who could not offer a reasonable explanation of what was happening to Seth. The answer came when Seth started using the acne treatment Accutane and blood had to be drawn.

“We found out that he had some blood levels that were high and long story short is that after all of those tests he has a mild form of what is called Becker’s muscular dystrophy,” McCaskill explained. “Becker’s muscular dystrophy (patients) have more of a sustainable life and don’t have as many complications but still fall victim to muscle issues in the heart such as cardiomyopathy. For Seth, based on his gentic code, he will only suffer from muscle cramping any time he overexerts himself.”

He noted the doctors believe the form of Becker’s is not going to progress as dramatically as some of the other types of muscular dystrophy.

Midlothian Firefighters spent March 22—24 at Walmart and Kroger raising funds for MDA. Through the donations of residents, firefighters were able to raise more than $5,000. Funds will aid people diagnosed with muscular dystrophy and related muscle-debilitating diseases to live longer and grow stronger. Contributions also help fund groundbreaking research and life-enhancing programs such as support groups and care centers and sents children to MDA summer camp.

McCaskill expressed his thanks to residents for their generous donations that go to support the valuable work of MDA and the people it helps daily. He noted that this outreach by residents has been constant each year.

“We have always had great support from the community. Sometimes when you are standing out there with that boot and when a car pulls up you never know who is going to give what,” McCaskill recalled. “I have seen people where I didn’t think that the car would pull out of the intersection and give $100. It is because they are thankful for what they have and they are willing to give. That is something that we should consider a little bit more probably.”

Muscular Dystrophy Association Fundraising Coordination Danni Frank previously stated that MDA is thrilled to be working with Midlothian Firefighters. She noted the funds raised through fill the boot provide the funds needed to find treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases that severely limit strength and mobility.

“The dedication of these firefighters to MDA’s mission is unwavering, spending countless hours both with Fill the Boot and MDA Summer Camp to care for the kids and adults in Midlothian and all over DFW,” Frank said. “We know that their devotion to our families will make this year’s drive a success.”