December 2021 Burn Bulletin

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December 2021 Burn Bulletin

AARBF’s Pass the Coin Challenge

Each year, our firefighter partners hold Burn Relays on behalf of the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. Typically, the participating fire agencies will host fundraisers such as pancake breakfasts and similar community events to raise money for their donation to the Burn Relay. Due to the pandemic, those community events could not be held in 2021. Instead, the individual Burn Relays teamed together to participate in a year-long Pass the Coin Challenge! By Giving Tuesday, November 30, the teams had raised over $71,000 towards their goal of $75,000.

Now these teams need your help! If you have not made your year-end gift, please consider donating through the Pass the Coin Challenge page. Your donation will not only support AARBF but also the firefighters who support the foundation year-round through their giving, volunteerism and participation in our prevention programming. Donating is easy! Visit our Pass the Coin Challenge page at, scroll down to the team you wish to support and click on the Donate button. Or, you can simply click on the Make a Donation button at the top of the page. All donations made through the Pass the Coin Challenge page will count towards their goal!

Adult Survivors Enjoy Kayaking Under Blue Skies

We could not have asked for a better day of kayaking with our guides and friends from ETC (Environmental Traveling Companions). On November 7, 2021, we set off from Sausalito with seven burn survivors and four guides, traveling up the coast towards the Golden Gate Bridge, ending at the secluded “Sea Glass Beach.” It was hard work but worth the pay off as the day was filled with amazing weather, wildlife and connection between the burn survivors and supporters. ETC not only guided us on this kayak adventure but also taught us several things along the way. From stories about Sausalito and the bay to information on all the wildlife we saw along the way, the ETC guides were a wealth of knowledge and a joy to have leading us. The adult burn survivors were all thrilled to be back in person and bonding with their peers that they had only been able to see online.  We can’t wait for our next kayak trip with ETC in the near future!

The Origins of Stop, Drop and Roll

We are all familiar with the iconic Stop, Drop and Roll but do you know how it began? In celebration of our 50th Anniversary, AARBF commissioned research to discover the origins of this life-saving technique. The results of this research have been commemorated in a newly installed exhibit at the LA Fire Museum in Hollywood!

To learn more about the research and findings behind this exhibit, please click here.

The 2021 Champy Ornament is Available Now

In November, AARBF introduced our new 2021 Champy Ornament. This metal-worked ornament was specially crafted for you, our Champ Camp friends, to remind you of the joy camp brings to so many. You will need to hurry and get yours before they are sold out! Purchase yours today from the 50th Anniversary Celebration site at

Take a Hike

AARBF was ready for November 17th’s National Hiking Day with a video created by hiker extraordinaire, Anne “Kimchi” Hildebrand. The video is available through the Multimedia Resource Library. Along with the video, you can find information on trails near you rated by challenge. November may be over but we still have great hiking weather in most areas of the state! If you take a hike, please share your day by tagging @aarbf on social media and using the hashtag #aarbfhikes.

Don’t forget to download the handy infographic to reference when planning your adventure!

Join Our Cohort 2 Intern Team

Our current 6-month internship will soon be coming to a close, which means we are looking for a new batch of amazing interns to help us start off 2022 strong!

The AARBF internship position is a paid, part-time position. An AARBF Intern will work with the Regional Manager/Development Manager in their region to assist with daily operations of AARBF. These operations are focused, but not limited to, assisting in Survivor Services programming, prevention through education, and donation/ fundraising efforts. In addition, there will be administrative tasks, database maintenance, and community networking. The AARBF intern position gives individuals the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the workplace, develop administrative skills and gain greater insight to the nonprofit industry and operations of a burn foundation.

If you would like to be a part of our Cohort 2 Team for 2022, please visit our website at to learn more about AARBF’s Internship Program and apply today!

AARBF is Here for You

During this holiday season, we know that not everyone will experience togetherness and cheer. For some, the holiday season can bring on feelings of loneliness or sadness.

We want to remind you that you are not alone! AARBF’s Peer Support Program matches burn survivors with other burn survivors, to listen, to share…to care. We encourage you to reach out to your local Regional Manager to find a Peer match today. For more information on our Peer Support Program and to send an online request for assistance, please click here.

We also offer monthly regional and state-wide support groups. Currently, these groups are all virtual allowing you to find a group that works with your schedule. To see the full list of groups available, visit the Events calendar on our website.

Don’t forget, if you’re feeling a little stressed these days, visit our Multimedia Resource Library for great videos on yoga, breathing techniques, learning a new craft and managing anxiety. We have something for everyone!

A Brush Stroke Completes AARBF’s 2021 Expression Series

On a special night, Tuesday, November 30, 2021, AARBF’s Expression Series ended the year with Art Expression led by Kelly “Sunflower” Dern.

We got into the holiday spirit with Sunflower as she taught us, step by step, how to paint a festive snowman. We had six amazing participants. It was a fabulous way to round out our 2021 Expression Series.

AARBF first introduced this monthly series in January 2021. These sessions are open to everyone from our burn community, including survivors, volunteers, and supporters. The sessions appeal to all ages. Due to its popularity, we will be continuing this virtual program in 2022. In addition to sessions on Writing, Art and Music, we will now be including Yoga! Watch for more information coming soon. We look forward to the return of the Expression Series in January 2022!

Volunteer Opportunties:

Please check with your regional office for more information on upcoming volunteer opportunities.

For Northern California, please contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19

For Central California, please contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at or 559-286-0710 Ext. 15

For Southern California, please contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16

Upcoming Events:



January 4: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Santa Clara Valley Medical Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 to receive log-in information.

January 6: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Caregiver Support Group – Online Video Support, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or to receive log-in information.

January 9: (1:30pm – 3:30pm), SoCal Survivors Online Support Group, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 to receive log-in information.

January 11: (6:00pm – 7:30pm), Fresno Community Regional Medical Center Online Support Group, contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at or 559-286-0710 Ext. 15 to receive log-in information.

January 12: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), North/East Bay Burn Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 to receive log-in information.

January 13: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Burn Care Professionals Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or to receive log-in information.


January 18: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Spanish-Speaking Online Burn Survivor Support Group, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 to receive log-in information.

January 20: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Statewide Support Group – Online, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or to receive log-in information.

January 27: (11:30am – 1:00pm), Saint Francis Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 to receive log-in information.

January 27: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Expression Series – Yoga, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or

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