Fill the Boot is SMART fundraising campaign

Aug 3, 2017

Sabretooth has been given the boot - but do not be alarmed. It is for a good cause.

You will notice Buffalo firefighters, Buffalo Sabres alumni, Sabretooth and other volunteers in bright yellow T-shirts around town during morning drive Thursday. It is the annual Fill the Boot campaign, with this year's proceeds going to the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Research Team.

WBFO caught up with Volunteer John Riley at the base of the Skyway. Riley says he is helping raise funds on behalf of his 13-year-old grandson, who has had the motor neuron disease since six months old.

Credit Buffalo Sabres

"Every penny we raise - there's no overhead - it goes back into the organization for research," Riley said. "As I say, it's not going to change his situation, but for future generations."

SMA affects the voluntary muscles used for activities like crawling, walking, head and neck control and swallowing. It is the number one genetic cause of death among children less than two years old.

"His disease just continues to progress," Riley said of his grandson. "So this woman, who is our research scientist at Johns Hopkins - has dedicated her entire career to doing this - she has made great, great strides."

Past Fill the Boot campaigns have raised some $35,000 for various causes. SMART also is holding its 9th Annual Celebration at KeyBank Center on Saturday from 1-6 p.m. Buffalo Sabres Director of Ticket Operations Marty Maloney is the event chairperson.