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Edmonton firefighter rooftop campout returns with $80K, world record pursuits

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Some of Edmonton's firefighters are back to living and sleeping in the cold to raise money and awareness for Muscular Dystrophy Canada. 

Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (EFRS) happily kicked off the return of the annual rooftop campout Monday morning, sending off five firefighters to the roof of Fire Hall #2 on 107 Street. During the pandemic, EFRS raised funds for Muscular Dystrophy Canada (MDC) in other ways. 

"It's great to see it back up and running. I know the firefighters have really been looking forward to it. We've been looking forward to it," Fraser Hall, MDC's services specialist, told CTV News Edmonton. 

The group is aiming to raise $80,000 by Friday. 

"So if we reach our goal of $80,000 by the time Friday rolls around, we can come down Friday. If not, then we gotta stay up a little longer and stay away from our families a little bit," firefighter Mackenzie Mandrusiak explained. 

"It's nice to have the warmer weather for us being up here, but it doesn't really help our cause for what we're really trying to do here. We're trying to emulate what it's like having muscular dystrophy with our muscles not working well in the cold and stuff like that. And let's face it, people just feel bad for us when it's really cold up and they're quicker to donate," he added with a grin. 

Edmonton firefighter Mackenzie Mandrusiak speaks to CTV News Edmonton on Feb. 6, 2023, on the first day of the rooftop campout fundraiser for Muscular Dystrophy Canada.

This year, one firefighter hopes to set a record, too. 

Monday afternoon, Wesley Bauman will be attempting to set a world record for the most Rubik's Cubes solved in a 30-minute ice bath. 

"I'm gonna get in there, gonna dial in, and try to tune out everything around me and just try to focus and make sure I'm getting enough blood to my fingers to keep the dexterity going," the firefighter said. 

"The pain of the cold, the loss of control and dexterity is what these people suffer through on a daily basis, so these challenges are a great way to illustrate what they're going through." 

Later in the week, Bauman will attempt to set a world record for memorizing the most playing cards in a 30-minute ice bath. 

Edmonton firefighter Wesley Bauman speaks to CTV News Edmonton on Feb. 6, 2023, on the first day of the rooftop campout fundraiser for Muscular Dystrophy Canada.

Supporters can stay tuned to the firefighters' efforts on Facebook and make a donation online. As well, donations can be made in person at Fire Hall #2 or any department in the city. 

"If you're around downtown and you want to come drop off some cash or come visit, see how we're living, we welcome all visitors. We enjoy it, actually. It helps pass the time," Mandrusiak said. 

"We can't thank them enough," Hall added. "We can't thank their families enough. It can be tough on the families if you've got some little ones at home, you're doing double duty a bit. But it means the world and these guys here."

Muscular Dystrophy Canada advocates on behalf of all neuromuscular disorders, of which muscular dystrophies are one type. The organization estimates more than 50,000 Canadians live with a neuromuscular disorder. 

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Evan Klippenstein 

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