CAMDEN — The city fire department has become a key piece of a 65-year partnership, whose combined charitable efforts are paying off for residents of Camden and the rest of South Jersey.

That partnership is between the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the International Association of Fire Fighters. MDA Development Director Carrie Castaneda said the driving force behind Camden's involvement is City Fire Department IAFF Local 0788 Vice President Pete Perez.

Perez was behind the recent Kegs for a Cure event at 45th Street Pub that raised more than $9,000, remaining about $800 shy of a projected $10,000 goal.

With a check presentation coming up next month, Castaneda said Perez and Local 0788 will continue their push.

"He's going to try to still raise some more money, and so hopefully he can get there this year," Castaneda said of Perez. "If not, I know he's going to blow it out of the water next year."

According to Castaneda, all money that comes in as a result of the collaboration between MDA and IAFF is put to use within the bounds in which it was raised — in this case, Camden and the Greater Philadelphia area.

"Our money stays local, so that's the great thing about our chapter, that we are able to help the families that we serve in the area, and especially in Camden," she said.

One specific, recent example: Castaneda said a Camden man living with muscular dystrophy is at long last having a ramp installed in his home so he can get inside using his wheelchair, instead of having to have his mother carry him in.

As part of its fundraising outlook for 2020, MDA hopes to reprise Kegs for a Cure in its same location next fall.

For updates and how to get involved, go to mda.org.

Patrick Lavery is Senior Producer of Morning News and Special Programming for New Jersey 101.5, and is lead reporter and substitute anchor for "New Jersey's First News." Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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