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July 2020 Burn Bulletin

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July 2020 Burn Bulletin

Champ Camp Goes Virtual for 2020!

When 2020 began, our Champ Camp Program Staff had already logged numerous hours planning this summer’s Champ Camp. But all of that changed with COVID-19. For the health and wellness of everyone involved we made the decision to cancel our in-person camp.

Enter our fabulous volunteers! When the call went out asking for help in planning a never before tried Virtual Champ Camp, we had over seventy volunteers step up! These dedicated volunteers rose to the challenge to provide our campers with the best possible experience we could create. Hours and hours of video were prepared in the weeks leading up to camp. Live sessions were planned to create an environment where our campers could feel like they were together instead of scattered throughout the state!

We had the volunteers and we had a plan, now we needed campers and those campers needed to be prepared to participate in the sessions. So, enduring 104-degree heat, a small group of volunteers in the Central Valley packed up supplies, creating a “Champ Camp in a box” for our campers! Click on this link: to see our box assemblers, Bubbles, Hydra, Chop Suey, Red Vine, Apollo and Kika working hard with Rocks and Willow to get these boxes packed and shipped!

On June 7, 2020, we kicked off not only our first Virtual Champ Camp, but the first virtual burn camp of its kind, in the world! Each day participants visited the AARBF website to download and view their sessions for that day. Parents and guardians helped with the fun by capturing and sharing photos of the campers completing the various activities. We have some fabulous artists among our campers!

While it may not have been the camp we envisioned at the start of 2020, technology allowed us to host a camp that engaged 137 campers and allowed them the ability to be together! Thank you all for being a part of our Virtual Champ Camp and the Champ Camp family! Until we can be together again…

AARBF Values Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement: The Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF) is a California nonprofit that is committed to sharing their values of diversity, equity, and inclusion as part of their growing initiatives in the prevention of burn injuries through education and support of burn survivors and their families in California. AARBF is dedicated to the integration of diverse, equitable, and inclusive topics within its policies, plans, and procedures while aligning with the mission. The organization recognizes the benefits of recruiting and retaining a diverse group of staff, board members, and volunteers and strives to create an equitable workplace culture where individuals share different ideas and collaborate in strong decision-making practices. AARBF’s leadership addresses both the needs of the organization and our diverse populations/communities/individuals served within the strategic goals of the organization.

The organization believes that in generating greater awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion to its everyday operations whenever possible. Our actions and outcomes related to these values are the responsibilities of everyone within the AARBF community; its leadership, board members, staff, volunteers, and stakeholders.

Steps to Developing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Plan: The Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation will encourage and educate its leadership, staff, Board of Directors, volunteers, and program participants to learn more about DEI topics and continually improve training and understanding to assure every person can find themselves welcomed here. When deficiencies and opportunities are uncovered, training, education, and recruiting actions are initiated to more roundly represent all.

To find this on our website, please visit:

Virtual Fundraisers Raised More Than $6,000 Over Last Year!

To say fundraising during a pandemic was challenging is an understatement, but the Bows for Dough and Grow Your Stache teams rose to the challenge and raised more than $6,000 than last year for a grand total of $31,456!

The top Bows for Dough team was Saint Francis Memorial Hospital raising $11,590! This was more than double their original goal – way to go team!

The top Grow Your Stache team was the AARBF Board and Council at $3,756. They had been trailing in second place to “Otters Diggin for Clams” but pulled ahead at the end! They also surpassed their original goal – yay team!

Thank you to all of our Bows and Stache teams. We know this year was very different and we appreciate your love and support for AARBF and our mission!

AARBF Brings Prevention Education to You!

On June 18, AARBF hosted a free webinar on the fire and burn prevention resources available through the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. In keeping with our mission to, “significantly reduce the number of burn injuries through prevention education,” we have been working hard, amid COVID-19, to provide more online and virtual opportunities for fire and burn prevention education. These tools are free of charge and available for use. To learn more, visit our website at or contact the office at 818-848-0223.

What Now? Meet the Authors Webinar

On June 19, AARBF hosted a panel discussion webinar with the authors of our burn survivor resource, “What Now?” booklet. The “What Now?” booklet was developed by burn survivors, family members, and burn care professionals for burn survivors. It is a starting point for finding resources and support. The information provided offers practical advice on ways to move forward. This webinar was designed to provide attendees the opportunity to ask questions and get inspiration regarding the daunting act of leaving a burn center.

We appreciate and thank the panelists for this webinar, James Bosch, Sadie Wilcox, Pam Peterson, Jill Sproul, Cindy Rutter for giving their time to share this important resource to our burn survivors. They were provided support by AARBF’s Jennifer Radics-Johnson and Daniel Chacon.

Missed the webinar? Don’t worry, a copy of the “What Now?” booklet is available for download from our website at

AARBF Celebrates 2020 Graduations

We were honored to be included in the recent graduation celebrations for three burn survivors. Due to social distancing restrictions, families had to get creative to make graduations special this year.

Glendora High School graduate and burn survivor, Alyssa M., received a graduation ceremony she will not forget! Along with about 20 friends and family members, Alyssa was treated to a special drive-by graduation parade by Firefighters with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Fire Station 85, in Glendora. Alyssa is part of AARBF’s Champ Camp family and was joined by AARBF staff and volunteers Fabiola “Hamster” Velaport, Jasmine “Rajah” Velaport, and Jasmin “Nemo” Paneda, Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez, Jan “Tabby” Share, and Gina Rodriguez, who were so excited to see Alyssa celebrated for her achievement!

There was a parade of 15 cars participating in the drive-by graduation celebration for Samantha V.! Samantha received gifts and flowers as the cars drove past honking horns and shouting their well-wishes. We were also excited to celebrate Samantha’s future which includes attending the University of Alabama! Congratulations, Samantha! We appreciate Samantha’s family for inviting her AARBF family, Fabiola “Hamster” Velaport, Jasmine “Rajah” Velaport, Jan “Tabby” Share and Chris “Buc” McKeever to be a part of this special day!

High School graduations were not the only achievements this past month, we also were able to congratulate burn survivor, Lewis B., for graduating from Grand Canyon University with a degree in Computer Programming! We first met Lewis when he was around 6 years of age, attending Champ Camp. We have watched him grow, not just in height but as a person, through camp and the Young Adult Summit. The entire AARBF family is proud of you!

Thank you graduates for letting us be a part of your celebrations. We know these ceremonies were not what you had planned, but you made the best of the situation and are an inspiration to others. We wish you all the best and look forward to the next chapter in your lives!

You Do Not Have to Do It Alone – AARBF Offers Therapy Grants

At AARBF, we understand the long and complex journey that a burn survivor, family member or caregiver undertakes as a result of a burn injury. We offer monthly online support groups to help you through challenging times. However, we recognize that for some, those sessions may not be enough. We also understand that all healthcare plans are not created equal! So, for that reason, we offer financial support to survivors and family members/caregivers seeking therapeutic counseling.

If you are interested in applying for assistance with therapeutic counseling, please visit our website at to download the application. Or, for more information about our Therapy Grants, please contact Daniel Chacon at 415-495-7223 ext. 18 or

Upcoming Events:

July 4 – August 16, 2020: Virtual 2020 Hell of a Half Marathon, contact Erika “Kika” Mendoza at or 559-286-0710 ext. 17 for more details.

August 2: (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.

August 4: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Santa Clara Valley Medical Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 x19 to receive log-in information.

August 5: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), East Bay Burn Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 x19 to receive log-in information.

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

August 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.

August 12: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), Santa Rosa Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 x19 to receive log-in information.

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

August 18: Spanish-Speaking Online Burn Survivor Support Group, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 to receive log-in information.

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

August 27: (11:30am – 1:00pm), Saint Francis Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 x19 to receive log-in information.

August 29: 23rd Annual Charity Golf Tournament (Sprinkler Fitters Local 483), contact Erika “Kika” Mendoza at or 559-286-0710 ext. 17 for more details.

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.