BRYANT, Ark. — For years, Bryant firefighters have said no to Black Friday shopping and yes to the Fill the Boot Campaign through the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
They raise money to help kids like Katy Sue Haynie, the fire department’s inspiration this year.
“She’s kind of their champion, she gets them pumped up,” said Lindsey Haynie, Katy Sue’s mom.
"She comes by the station and visits us and she's just become a part of our family,” said Cpt. David Slack, Bryant firefighter.
Katy Sue has muscle disease.
"Her right leg is turning in drastically and that will have to be intervened at some point in time,” said Haynie.
While the little girl has been the firefighters' biggest cheerleader, they are hers now.
Bryant firefighters lined the streets with a boot on Friday and collected change from drivers.
The money raised will help people like Katy Sue fighting muscle disease while going to therapy multiple times a week.
"She has daily struggles, like taking a bath and brushing her teeth,” said Haynie. “Stuff like that is starting to become more and more of a struggle the older she gets."
The money stays in Saline County and helps fund research for new treatments and support Muscular Dystrophy care centers.
Last year, Bryant firefighters filled the boot with $12,000, and hope to raise even more this year.
“It means a whole lot to me because eventually, Katy will need more therapy,” said Haynie.
Ten firefighters volunteered in hopes the money they collect will one day help transform Katy Sue’s life.
"It just gives me chill bumps because they know what they are doing and how it will help her eventually,” said Haynie.
More than 100,000 firefighters participated in MDA's Fill the Boot event in 2018 and raised $20 million nationwide.