From 6:30 to 9 a.m. Thursday, Buffalo firefighters will hold their annual "fill the boot" program, with this year's proceeds going to the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Research Team (SMART). The firefighters will be joined by current and former Sabres players, as well as Sabretooth, at 7:30 a.m. on five of the six corners throughout the City of Buffalo, collecting funds: Oak and Genesee, Elm and Swan, Niagara Street and Exit 190, Delaware and Hertel, Skyway and Church, and Seneca and Bailey.
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a motor neuron disease. The motor neurons affect the voluntary muscles that are used for activities such as crawling, walking, head and neck control, and swallowing. SMA is the No. 1 genetic cause of death amongst children less than 2 years old, affecting nearly 1 in 6,000 new births. Approximately one in 35 people carry a copy of the gene that causes SMA.
SMART is a grass-roots organization working to raise awareness and financial support for targeted research aimed at finding treatments and, ultimately, cures for SMA and related neuromuscular diseases. Currently, SMART is funding the laboratory of a world-renowned physician-scientist at Johns-Hopkins Medical Center, who is working on novel research avenues that may lead to life-altering therapies for SMA.
SMART will hold its seventh annual SMART Celebration at First Niagara Center from 1-6 p.m. Saturday. For more information, visit www.smarthope.com.