August 2018 Burn Bulletin

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August 2018 Burn Bulletin

Enjoying the Great Outdoors

Over the weekend of July 20-22, 28 young burn survivors from Oakland, San Jose, San Francisco, Sacramento, Modesto, and Fresno areas all descended upon one of our favorite places in the world – Arnold, CA! Friday evening was full of both indoor and outdoor games and LOTS of pizza as we settled into our home for the weekend: Chapel in the Pines, who graciously lends us their church.

The campers were all ready to snooze by 10pm so that we could rise and shine early Saturday morning to head up to Lake Alpine where we were able to enjoy paddle boarding, kayaking, fishing and more, all made possible by Sierra Nevada Adventure Company. Of course, it wouldn’t be camp if there weren’t boatloads of snacks readily available, so campers were able to take a break in the shade with plenty of food and, of course, Gatorade. Thanks for this, and much more, go to our fearless trip leader, DeWayne “Dash” Eckerdt, who makes sure we never go hungry!

After enjoying the lake and surviving a dust devil which blew several towels into the water, everyone worked together to load up the vehicles with all of the equipment before heading down the hill for even more food! We met up with Calaveras County Search and Rescue (SAR) who had prepared an amazing barbecue for us (including some chili that we would love to see at the Champ Camp Chili Cook-off next year!). Moreover, SAR had also installed rock climbing routes along a granite face and volunteers helped campers climb the rocks for the next few hours. We are so proud of our brave campers who continually overcome their fears to try something new!

After feasting once more on the barbecue, we headed back to Chapel in the Pines for some much needed rest. Sunday morning, Ebbetts Pass Fire District refueled our bellies with their famous chocolate chip pancakes before we all exchanged a billion E-hugs and went on our ways home. What an amazing weekend this Outdoor Trip was!

Wine Country to the Rescue!

We are so incredibly grateful to the Geyserville Fire Protection District, Cloverdale Volunteer Firefighter Association, and the Healdsburg Fire Department Firefighters for hosting the Annual Wine Country to the Rescue on July 21, 2018. We are so honored that these firefighters chose to provide AARBF with a $30,000 donation from this event! Approximately 500 people attended the event at the gorgeous Trentadue Winery. Attendees enjoyed oysters from Hog Island Oyster Co., wine and beer tasting from close to a dozen Sonoma County wineries, an impressive silent auction with over a hundred items, a delicious dinner, live auction hosted by California State Senator Mike McGuire, and last but certainly not least, an excessively impressive fireworks show!

This event began to assist volunteer fire departments get the resources and equipment they need to fight the devasting wildfires that have swept the North Bay area. This year, the firefighters from the Northern Sonoma Area were able to raise nearly $120,000 to assist them with their firefighting efforts and to continue to try to rebuild.

An Evening of Safety and Fun at the Ball Park!

On July 26, 2018, AARBF was invited to share burn and fire safety education with the fans of the San Francisco Giants! Every year the Giants host a Family Safety Festival, as well as, a Law Enforcement Appreciation Night. AARBF Development Manager, Stephanie “Pocahontas” Boydell, and Champ Camp Counselors Patrick “Patch” Reyes and Brooke “Gidget” Cappa spent the late afternoon teaching kids and families about the importance of fire and burn safety.

We would like to thank the Giants for this awesome event that helps keep the San Francisco community informed and safe! Although the Giants did not win their match again the Brewers, we still very much enjoyed the game… GO GIANTS!

``World Burn Congress`` Scholarships Awarded

We are very happy to announce that the scholarships for World Burn Congress 2018 have been awarded! The AARBF World Burn Congress Scholarship provides financial assistance, up to $1,000.00, to cover cost involved in participating in Phoenix Society’s World Burn Congress four-day conference. Scholarship funds may be used for conference registration fees, travel, accommodations and meals. The Phoenix Society’s World Burn Congress is an annual international conference that brings together more than 800 burn survivors, their families, care givers, burn care professionals, and firefighters. It is a forum for encouraging and facilitating the sharing of stories, providing support and increasing knowledge of burn recovery. Whether you are a survivor, parent of a survivor, or a family member/caregiver you will find that World Burn Congress offers a healing environment for all. This year the conference will be held in Grand Rapids, MI September 12 -15, 2018. The following people have been awarded partial or full scholarships to attend the conference: Isabel G., Avigail A., Perlita P., Liz P., Francisco P., Diana M., Yaramitt H., Lourdes H., Gina T., M’Kali H., Robert S. and Mario S.

AARBF was also able to work with Children’s Burn Foundation and Fresno Community Regional Center’s Burn Unit to find some funding for Aneese M. and her mother to attend. Alyssa C.’s family scholarship will be graciously funded by the Bakersfield Firefighter’s Burn Foundation.

Woody and Louise Reed ``Bridge to Life`` Scholarship Recipients

We are excited to announce the winners of the Annual the Woody and Louise Reed “Bridge to Life” Scholarship; which is a program that provides support to burn survivor teens and young adults who have been involved in the life of AARBF and need financial aid to pursue an education after high school. The purpose of this program is to “bridge” the gap between the existing programs AARBF provides for survivors and higher education. The scholarship program provides financial assistance to those survivors seeking education beyond high school, whether it is at a university or technical institution.

2018 Woody and Louise Reed “Bridge to Life” Scholarship recipients include: Nhi V., Lily P., Christine L., Autumn W., Lawrence R., Tremone F., Meagan B. and Eduardo E. Educational stipends were awarded to Amanda C., Francisco P. and Juanita H.

The Aiming Higher Scholarship, made possible through an anonymous donor, for burn survivors pursuing a graduate degree, has been awarded to: Christina L. and Tremone F.

An Evening of Glitz and Glam

Central County Fire Department has always been incredibly supportive of AARBF and each year they host an Annual Pancake Breakfast to support their community and Champ Camp. This year, they have also selected AARBF to receive the proceeds from their Annual Central County Firefighter’s Charity Ball.

The Firefighter’s Ball took place on July 21, 2018, and our very own past Board Member and Champ Camp Arts and Crafts Guru, Sadie “Phoenix” Wilcox and her husband, Jonathan, were able to attend the evening’s festivities and join in the fun! Approximately 75 people attended to bid on silent auction items and dance the night away. The Central County Firefighters were able to raise $4,000 for AARBF! Thank you, Central County Firefighters for continuing to support our mission, to significantly reduce the number of burn injuries through prevention education, and to enhance the quality of life of those affected by burn injuries in California.

Pancakes for a Cause

On July 29, 2018, the Alameda Firefighters hosted another very successful Pancake Breakfast and although they were low on volunteers due to the wildfires burning all over Califonia, they still provided an amazing breakfast to hundreds of families! All proceeds are donated to AARBF and we were thrilled to be able to offer burn and fire safety education during the breakfast. Burn Survivor and AARBF Intern, Kai Levenson-Cupp, her mother Toby Levenson, and Champ Camp Counselor Jamie “Barbie” Calnan taught children Stop, Drop, and Roll and how to escape a house fire; along with other safety tips.

Not only did the Alameda Firefighters and Alameda Fire Department provide a delicious breakfast, they also sold $5 mimosas for adults to enjoy as they strolled around the 34th Annual Downtown Alameda Art & Wine Faire. It was a fun event for all and we can’t say enough how much we appreciate the Alameda Firefighter’s support year after year!

Help Us Win the 10% Happier Challenge!

The month long Chive Charities 10% Happier Challenge began on July 31, 2018 and we need your help to win $30,000! From July 31, 2018 to August 29, 2018, if you make a donation to AARBF, we will be one step closer to winning an additional $30,000 donation from Chive Charities. This is a friendly competition amongst non-profits and we need your help to make AARBF #1!

You can donate at the link or become a fundraiser and encourage others to give. If you didn’t have a chance to donate to Bows for Dough or Grow Your ‘Stache in May, this is a great opportunity to really make your donation count. Each week, in addition to the grand prize, Chive Charities has awesome bonus challenges so stay tuned to our Facebook page (@alisaannruchburnfoundation) to find out more.

Painting and Healing

Every second Tuesday of the month, the wonderful burn unit staff at Community Regional Medical Center (CRMC) in Fresno hosts a Support Group for Burn Survivors. Last support group was held July 17, 2018 where 31 burn survivors and family members were able to bond over a therapeutic painting night. Everyone created masterpieces, and wonderful memories, to take home with them that evening!

We appreciate all of the wonderful support CRMC, their doctors, and especially their amazing Burn Unit nurses and staff provide to Burn Survivors; both during their hospital stay and through their journey of healing.

Round Up Your Change for a Great Cause!

We now have an easy way you can make a big difference just by going about your day. Our new app lets you live your life and do good — at the same time!

The app is called My Donations to AARBF and you can find it in the Apple App Store by searching aarbf or by clicking here. It’ll be available for Android phones soon!

Every time you use a linked account we will automatically round up your purchase to the nearest dollar, and that spare change will be donated to help our important work. Here’s how it works: When you make a purchase, like $65.49 on groceries or $8.76 for lunch, we will round up to the nearest dollar and all those nickels, dimes and quarters will be donated to AARBF. And don’t worry, you can cancel at any time.

Please take a moment to download our app today, every little bit helps!

September Hot List!

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Southern California Volunteer Opportunities
    • Please contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez, or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 if you have interest in volunteering for the following event:
      • The Getaway – Family Camp from September 1 – 3, 2018
        • Before the camp, volunteers are needed to come into the Pasadena office to make phone calls to invite burn survivors and their families to attend.
        • August 31st to September 3rd we need volunteers to help with kid’s club, activities, workshops, decorating, etc.
  • Central California Volunteer Opportunities
    • Please contact Erika “Kika” Corona-Mendoza at or 559-621-4016 if you have interest in volunteering for the following event:
      • Central Coast Beach Adventure from September 14 – 16, 2018
        • Chaperones/Drivers needed, specifically from the Sacramento/Modesto area, to drop off/pick up burn survivor children participating in the weekend
        • Volunteers are needed to help watch the kids and keep them safe. Volunteers should be adventurous folks who would enjoy kayaking, surfing, paddle boarding and all around just having fun with the kids!
  • Ongoing: El Cerrito Region Volunteer Opportunities
    • Please contact Anne “Kimchi” Hildebrand at or 415-495-7223 x19 if you have interest in any of the following:
      • Each year, AARBF partners with the San Francisco Fire Department to educate thousands of kids in fire and burn prevention. This program also entails pre- and post- tests to track learning. We need help pairing students’ pre- and post- tests and scanning them so that they can be graded by a computer program and analyzed by a statistician.
      • We need help organizing the toys from our annual Holiday Drive. We are settling into our new offices and need help putting them into storage/organizing them to be distributed throughout the year and next holiday season.
      • Connections needed! We are looking for a new therapist for support group facilitation and for a food sponsor for the East Bay Support Group (1x/month).

Upcoming Events:

  • September 1 – 3: The Getaway – Family Camp, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez, or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 with any questions.
  • September 4: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Santa Clara Valley Medical Support Group, contact Anne “Kimchi” Hildebrand at or 415-495-7223 with any questions.
  • September 5: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), East Bay Burn Support Group, contact Anne “Kimchi” Hildebrand at or 415-495-7223 with any questions.
  • September 7: NorCal Fire Prevention Officer’s Golf Tournament in American Canyon, contact Stephanie “Pocahontas” Boydell or 415-495-7223 Ext. 17 with any questions.
  • September 8: Alisa Ann Ruch’s Birthday
  • September 8: Sprinkler Fitters Local 483 Golf Tournament in Castro Valley, contact Stephanie “Pocahontas” Boydell at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 17 with any questions.
  • September 9: (1:30pm – 3:30pm), SoCal Survivors Support Group, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez, or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 with any questions.
  • September 11: (6:30pm – 7:30pm), Central California Burn Survivor Support Group, contact Erika “Kika” Corona-Mendoza at or 559-621-4016 with any questions.
  • September 12: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), Santa Rosa Support Group, contact Anne “Kimchi” Hildebrand at or 415-495-7223 with any questions.
  • September 12 – 15: World Burn Congress in Grand Rapids, MI, contact Jan “Tabby” Share at 818-848-0223 or with any questions.
  • September 14 – 16: Central Coast Beach Adventure, contact Erika “Kika” Corona-Mendoza at or 559-621-4016 with any questions.
  • September 17 – Peninsula Firefighter’s Burn Relay, contact Stephanie “Pocahontas” Boydell at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 17 with any questions.
  • September 24: 36th Annual AARBF Charity Golf Tournament in San Dimas, contact Jan “Tabby” Share at 818-848-0223 or with any questions.
  • September 24: Hayward Firefighters Local 1909 Golf Tournament, contact Stephanie “Pocahontas” Boydell at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 17 with any questions.
  • September 27: (11:30am – 1:00pm), Saint Francis Hospital Burn Support Group, contact Anne “Kimchi” Hildebrand at or 415-495-7223 with any questions.
  • September 29: (8am – 11am), Mountain View Firefighter’s Random Acts Pancake Breakfast, contact Stephanie “Pocahontas” Boydell or 415-495-7223 Ext. 17 with any questions.

If you missed any of our past Burn Bulletins, please check out our archives.

Just a reminder to go to; click on Upcoming Events, for the latest AARBF events and activities that need your support.