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Williams Lake Fire Department, Mayor stay warm at fundraising sleepover

So far the fire department has raised over $12,000 for muscular dystrophy

The Williams Lake Fire Department was surprised with pizza as they prepared for their first night sleeping on top of Canadian Tire’s rooftop.

Mayor Surinderpal Rathor delivered the pizza on Feb. 23, joining the firefighters on top of the rooftop as they gathered around a fire to stay warm. The firefighters are raising funds for muscular dystrophy. As of Feb. 28, over $18,500 were raised, said Dereck Sulentich, a Williams Lake firefighter and regional advisor for the Cariboo for Muscular Dystrophy Canada.

“It went fantastic,” Sulentich said, noting that last year they raised around $15,000. “We kind of blew that out of the water.”

Muscular dystrophy causes progressive muscle weakness, decreasing mobility and making everyday activities difficult. Sulentich said the idea behind what they’re doing — sleeping outside this time of year — is because when you’re in the cold, you start to lose the feelings in your hands, similar to what one with muscular dystrophy might be experiencing.

This is the third year the firefighters have had the two-night sleepover on top of Canadian Tire, something that’s been a learning curve, remarked Sulentich. The first year was 2019, and the firefighters were quite cold. The second year (post-pandemic) was 2022. It wasn’t as cold, but the wind was strong, and two tents were blown away.

This year, the firefighters were prepped with a heater and an army tent for the crew.

“All in all, it was a great weekend.”

Along with over $18,500 raised, around $5,000 of items were donated by businesses, which will later be auctioned off during a silent auction.

Sulentich commended the community for their support and for shopping locally.

“Support local businesses. They’re the ones that fund a lot of sports organizations and other organizations,” said Sulentich. “It goes to show what a solid community we have as far as businesses go. For people to shop locally, they’re the backbone.”

Kim Kimberlin, Local Journalism Initiative

About the Author: Kim Kimberlin, Local Journalism Initiative

I joined Black Press Media in 2022, and have a passion for covering topics on women’s rights, 2SLGBTQIA+ and racial issues, mental health and the arts.
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