January 2024 Burn Bulletin

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January 2024 Burn Bulletin

Bringing Holiday Fun to the Central Valley

On Saturday, December 2nd, we cohosted the annual holiday party with our friends from the CRMC Burn Unit. We had a great time spending the day with twenty-four families from across the valley enjoying great food, creating fun crafts, decorating cookies, and taking pictures with Santa. This day would not have been possible without our fabulous volunteers and generous partners who donated bikes, bike helmets, toys, and their time to ensure everyone had the best day.

A special thank you to our Central Valley community partners: CRMC Burn Unit, National University Student Nursing Cohort 29, Coalinga Fire Department, Fresno Fire Department, and Sierra High School. Thank you for making the holidays shine for our survivors and their families.

Santa Heads South for Burn Survivors

On December 3rd, we had a blast renewing friendships and creating new ones at the SoCal Holiday Party. With over 155 guests registered for this year’s event, we knew it would be epic. Everyone had a great time, visiting with each other over lunch, making fun crafts, cookie decorating, and of course, meeting Santa. We so enjoyed having our SoCal families spend the day with us.

We are so very grateful to our wonderful volunteers: Marilyn and Danna Bran, Lourdes Heredia, Sandra Correa, the Velaport Family (Fabiola, Jasmin, Nicholi, and Abby), the Lopez Family (Eunice, Kayla, Erick, and Liana), Lynne and Nils Gjertson, Aymar Family (Bob, Leslie, Amy and Megan), Angelica & Ulbens Benoit-Hernandez, Che Ochtli, Valeria Aragon, Dulce Diaz and Jose Hernandez. We could not have held this event without each and every one of you. Thank you!

A Weekend of Parties in Northern CA

The AARBF holiday parties continued on December 9th and 10th in Northern California. On Saturday, we spent time with our friends at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose where we had thirty-one families join us. Our time included cookie decorating, ornament painting, and shopping bag decorating for use in Santa’s store. Picture time was the best. Not only did our guests get to take photos with Santa they also got to meet Captain America!

A very special thank you to our friend and long-time holiday party supporter, Linda Carrier, and her family. We would also like to thank our huge team of volunteers, West Coast Avengers (Captain America), and of course, Santa!

Not to be outdone, we headed over to Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco on Sunday. Thank you to the thirty-four families who chose to spend their day with us decorating picture frames, making snowmen, renewing friendships, and creating new ones with Santa.

We would like to give a warm thank you to the Saint Francis Memorial Hospital Staff/Management, Amber and Adon from Berkeley Fire, Miles Morales from West Coast Avengers, our super fabulous volunteers, and Santa!

Our holiday season of parties was a whirlwind but we are already looking forward to next December.

Holiday Support for Burn Survivor Families in Need

On December 12th, AARBF was invited to attend the Traffic Controllers Supervisor Association’s Christmas luncheon where Erika and Katrina shared the mission of AARBF and were the recipients of the TCSA’s holiday toy drive. The toys collected will help support families in need from the Central Valley this Christmas. AARBF is grateful to all the members of TCSA who generously brought toys for burn survivors and their families. And, we look forward to growing our community partnership. TSCA members include the City of Clovis, Fresno County, Madera County, and Tulare County.

On December 22nd, AARBF partnered with the Community Regional Medical Center (CRMC) in Fresno, CA to distribute those toys, providing a little extra support to several burn survivors and their families during the holiday season. Parents were invited to “shop” the toys that were generously donated by the TCSA. AARBF is privileged to assist CRMC in helping to alleviate some of the stress of the holidays for those burn survivors living in the Central Valley.

Thank you to the Fresno Fire Department (and Arson K-9 Shilo) for providing a unique venue and experience for the survivors and their families.

Martha Banks: The Power of Support

2023 was an amazing year filled with many beautiful moments and changes. One such moment includes when Martha Banks joined the AARBF Team as the new Survivor Care Manager.

In this video link above, Martha opens up and shares her experience of being a child burn survivor. Included in her story was how meeting James Bosch, an AARBF staff member and burn survivor, influenced her life. James visited her in the hospital while she was being treated for her burn injuries and remained a resource to her as she began her survivor journey. This care management had a profound impact on Martha which inspired her throughout her life and ultimately led her to come back to AARBF as an adult to provide that same support and care to other burn survivors.

The Power of Support is something we value here at AARBF and strive to provide to our burn survivor community. From support groups to the newly named, James Bosch Therapy Grant, we assist our survivors and their family members as they navigate their own journey.

Bocce Ball Fundraiser

We are so very grateful for the generous support of South San Francisco Fire who hosted their annual Bocce Ball fundraiser benefitting AARBF. We appreciate their continued support and invaluable partnership. We also thank the fabulous sponsors who helped make this event a success.

Applications for the Young Adult Summit and Adult Retreat Opened in December

In December, we were excited to announce the opening of the Young Adult Summit (YAS) and Adult Retreat applications. Burn survivors are invited to join us February 16-19 in beautiful Cambria for a weekend filled with learning and friendship.

YAS is open to burn survivors ages 16-20 years old.

Register today at: http://app.campdoc.com/register/aarbf

Select “New Session” then select “YAS Participant 2024”. If you are a volunteer, select “New Session” then select “YAS Mentors 2024”.

The Adult Retreat is open to burn survivor adults ages 21 and over. Use the same link above to register.

Select “New Session” then select “Retreat Participant 2024”. If you are a volunteer, select “New Session” then select “Retreat Staff 2024”.

If you have any questions on either of these programs, please reach out to Erika “Kika” Mendoza at emendoza@aarbf.org.

Holiday Party Registration was Announced in October

You are invited to join us at one of the four holiday parties being offered in December. Registration is required, so please let us know you will be joining us by clicking on the link for your nearest location below:

Central Valley/CRMC—December 2, 11:00 am-2:00 pm at the Clovis Rodeo Grounds.  Register today at: https://forms.gle/m452rDC8JLoZv8Ac6

Southern California—December 3, 11:00 am-2:00 pm at the Shrine Auditorium Dining Room. Register today at: https://forms.gle/uFDdRBJCcVEnC8oR8

San Jose/SCVMC—December 9, 11:00 am-2:00 pm at the San Jose Masonic Center. Register today at: https://forms.gle/fz9H9YWzaRPqbidf9

East Bay/Bay Area—December 10, 11:00 am-2:00 pm at St. Francis Hospital in San Francisco. Register today at: https://forms.gle/ctxDQrmen2U8FpLz9


For questions, please contact us at info@aarbf.org.

Join us in Clovis

It is not too late to join us on Saturday, September 23rd for AARBF’s Fundraiser Dinner in Clovis. Doors open at 5 PM. Tickets are advanced purchase only.

The AARBF’s Fundraiser Dinner is a fantastic night filled with silent, live, and dessert auctions, a cash bar, catered dinner, with a lot of friends all coming together to support the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation and Champ Camp.

To purchase your tickets, please visit our event page at: https://one.bidpal.net/aarbfdinner2023

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to McKenzie Dern at mdern@aarbf.org.

Volunteer Opportunties:

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

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

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

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

Upcoming Events:

We have a new schedule for our support groups. Please click here to see what has changed for 2024.

Or, contact us at info@aarbf.org for more information.

January 15: ALL AARBF Offices closed

February 16-19: Young Adult Summit and The Adult Retreat

February 19: ALL AARBF Offices closed

February 29: Applications Close for Champ Camp Counselors and CITs

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