The McPherson Fire Department will step into this year’s Fill the Boot campaign one supporter short on Aug. 19, but hopes to have a successful event in memory of her.

Rebecca Fulcher, a McPherson resident who was diagnosed with a form of muscular dystrophy, died at age 21 in a car accident this year. Fulcher worked alongside firefighters for many years of the campaign and also benefited from the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Wichita in turn.

“She was very active with MDA and we wanted to do something for her since she won’t be with us physically,” said Zach Peterson, coordinator of the campaign for the McPherson Fire Department. “She’d always come sit with us at Walmart or Dillon’s and collect money. She can’t do that this year so this is our way of having her help us.”

Across the nation, firefighters raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association by collecting donations in their boots on street corners. Individuals like Fulcher benefit from the association’s services, advocacy and support.

“The Muscular Dystrophy Association here hosts camps, there’s one this weekend, and kids with muscular dystrophy in the area can go and hang out and relate with each other,” Peterson said. “Becky needed a van to help her get transportation and the association helped pay for that van. They have different funds like that to benefit kids with muscular dystrophy all around the area.”

This year, the McPherson campaign will also donate proceeds from T-shirts and buttons commemorating Fulcher’s contributions. The costs of producing the T-shirts and buttons have been underwritten by numerous sponsors in the area so 100 percent of the proceeds will go to MDA.

“I’m hoping to sell out of T-shirts and have to order a new batch because then we’ll have met last year’s goal right there,” Peterson said. “Last year, we raised $5,500 so I’m hoping with the addition of T-shirts and buttons that we can double that.”

The shirts have the MDA logo on the front, with “In Honor of Becky Fulcher” on the back. T-shirts are $16 per shirt sizes small through extra-large, with an additional cost for larger sizing, and buttons are $6. Both can be purchased ahead of time at the McPherson Fire Department, 312 E. Kansas Ave., or during the campaign.

The Fill the Boot campaign will collect donations from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 19 at Kansas Avenue and Main Street in McPherson, as well as at Dillon’s and Walmart in McPherson. Later, firefighters will also collect donations and sell T-shirts and buttons at the Back to School Bash from 6 p.m. to Midnight at Hopp’s Sound & Electric, 214 E. Euclid St. in McPherson.

The Back to School Bash will offer live music from Hell Creek Bridge, a bounce house, dunk tank, concessions and more.

Though the campaign is hosted by firefighters across the nation, all funds go to the MDA, which is tough to explain to donors on street corners as they drive by. Partnering with events like the Back to School Bash gives firefighters more time to communicate the cause.

“A lot of people think we’re collecting money for the fire department since we’ve got the boots out there, but its for the kids with muscular dystrophy. None of the proceeds go to the fire department, 100 percent goes to MDA and hopefully we’ll find a cure,” Peterson said. “This event is fun for the community and it’s a good way to raise funds for this cause.”

Contact Cheyenne Derksen Schroeder by email at cderksen@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her on Twitter at @MacSentinel.