Langford FD’s Harley raffle to help muscular dystrophy patients

Sixty years since firefighters first raised money for MD

Langford Deputy Fire Chief Kerry Zado poses with the Harley Fatboy being raffled off to help muscular dystrophy sufferers.

There are only six weeks left for the chance to buy a Harley Davidson for $20.

For an eighth summer, Langford Fire Department is raffling off a motorcycle to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy Canada. The prize is a 2014 Harley Davidson Fatboy, and with only 3,000 tickets being printed, the odds are pretty darn good.

“It’s better odds than the lottery,” says Deputy Fire Chief Kerry Zado.

He and other firefighters have been taking the bike around to car shows and swap meets, showing off the shiny chrome and selling tickets. Their hope is to sell out well before the Aug. 17 draw.

“We have to purchase the bike,” he says. “Steve Drane Harley Davidson gives us as good a deal as he can, and he covers the cost of insurance to transport the bike (to different venues).” But the bike still costs, so the more tickets they sell, the more goes to the cause.

Zado says the money is used “to fund research, client services and education, and medical equipment to make the lives of people with muscular dystrophy a little more comfortable.”

Firefighters have been fundraising since 1954 to help those battling the disease, he says. It all started when a firefighter needed help to fund medical equipment for his son. The father and a neighbour went door to door to fundraise and it took off from there.

“It’s the charity of choice for firefighters all across Canada, as well as the burn unit,” Zado says. “We’re recognizing 60 years (this year) in partnership with muscular dystrophy.”

The disease can affect anybody at anytime and isn’t, as many people think, strictly a childhood disease. Many forms of MD affect adults as well, male and female alike. It’s a wasting disorder, with the muscles of the body – including the diaphragm and heart – deteriorating over time. This usually leads to fatal breathing and heart complications.

“Oxygen therapy is probably the most common way to help. It doesn’t really slow down the process, but it helps them breathe and live longer,” Zado says.

There aren’t really any treatment options beyond oxygen, but there are several drugs undergoing trials. For those living with MD, medical advancements and the research behind them are vitally important. For Zado, who’s been fundraising for 25 years, the Harley Davidson raffle presents an opportunity to contribute a substantial amount to the cause.

“We’re about one third sold,” he says regarding ticket sales so far.

They’re available right up until the draw the afternoon of Aug. 17 at the Goldstream Auto Show. Buy them at the Langford fire halls or at Steve Drane Harley Davidson.   For more information, contact Zado at winafatboy@gmail.com.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com