November 2023 Burn Bulletin

Home » Multi-Resource Library » November 2023 Burn Bulletin

November 2023 Burn Bulletin

Spending the Week in Washington DC

AARBF had the pleasure of sending one of our Champ Camp counselors and one camper to spend the week in Washington DC with the IAFF at the International Burn Camp. Tex and Julian built connections with so many great people and had experiences that would last a lifetime. They were able to meet and interact with other burn survivors and burn community members from across the US. One of their favorite memories from their trip was being able to tour the Smithsonian. Julian and Tex had a wonderful time roaming the halls and getting lost amongst the art work. Thank you, IAFF for this opportunity to send campers and counselors from AARBF.

SoCal Golf Celebrating 40 Years Supporting AARBF

On October 3rd, John Patterson and Red Pointe Roofing hosted this year’s 40th AARBF SoCal Golf Tournament at the Black Gold Golf Course in Yorba Linda. Over the 40 years, since Ken Hewett started it, close to a million dollars has been raised for AARBF!  We are incredibly grateful.

We would like to extend a special thank you to Diana, Jeremy, and the rest of the Red Pointe team who worked hard to make this year’s event happen. As well as a thank you to the amazing sponsors and to the golfers who came out to support a great cause.

World Burn Congress Returns to an In-Person Event

AARBF and California burn survivors traveled across the country to attend the Phoenix Society’s World Burn Congress (WBC), October 4th – 7th. This event took place at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD. We were so excited to gather in person again after being an online event during the pandemic. In the WBC, survivors got the opportunity to connect with other burn survivors, learn about new resources through workshops, and support each other by sharing their experiences during support groups and Open-Mic sessions.

Through your support, AARBF provides financial scholarships to assist with registration and travel-related expenses to attend WBC. Here is what one of our survivors had to say,

“Soooo much joy & sadness.. Thank you for all your support & love. It’s been a good 13 years. Since I have been back to WBC. It was awesome and I thank you all. Thank you, Andrew and Daniel and all the crew, for all you did. I totally appreciate it sending love and support your way.” – AARBF survivor

As a burn foundation, we are very happy to provide the opportunity to sponsor our survivors to this awesome event in which they were able to find the inspiration and motivation to keep pushing forward in their own recovery.

Kitchen Safety Highlighted in October

AARBF participated in Fire Prevention Week 2023 (FPW), October 8th – 14th. This year’s theme was “Cooking Safety starts with YOU! Pay Attention to Fire Prevention™.” We utilized our social media to post prevention messaging related to kitchen safety. In addition, AARBF staff, board members, and volunteers attended several events hosted by Fire Departments throughout the state.

Also, during FPW, our partners at Pyramid Educational Consultants (PECs) collaborated with us to create a Cooking Safety infographic to help learners who benefit from using visual directions and resources.

This colorful new infographic can be placed in the kitchen of residential, educational, vocational, or home settings where learners can view these important safety tips. They are good reminders for every kitchen.

Fire Safety Education is the first line of defense against fire fatalities and injuries. For more fire and burn safety resources please visit our websites to learn about the NICK Fire & Burn Safety resources. These resources are designed to bring fire and burn safety education to individuals on the autism spectrum, those with developmental disabilities or communication challenges, and pre-school-aged children.

Visit and to learn more.

The Central Coast Burn Relay: A Fire Prevention Week Tradition

On Thursday, October 12th, we were excited to join the amazing Fire Chiefs, Fire Services, and Firefighters who came out to support our Central Coast Burn Relay. It was an incredible day visiting schools to teach fire safety and prevention creating a day students will never forget. We are grateful and appreciate the amazing work you all do. This year’s annual relay raised $12,000 to support AARBF Programs and Champ Camp.

Thank you to the Fire Chief’s Association of San Louis Obispo County, Five Cities Fire Authority, Atascadero Firefighters Association, Santa Margarita Fire, Templeton Firefighters Association, San Miguel Firefighters Association, Morro Bay Firefighters Local 3725, Cal Fire SLO, Diablo Canyon Firefighters Association, Paso Robles Firefighters Association, and San Luis City Fire Department.

We also extend a warm thank you to Brian and Megan Leathers for spearheading the relay, Claudia Buccio at KSBY for joining the day, and KSBY News for featuring it in your news stories!

Fresno Fire Department Hosts Local Burn Survivor

This was the 30th year of “Firefighters Creating Memories” at the Big Fresno Fair. “Firefighters Creating Memories” is a public-private community outreach program that partners local firefighters with families of children who have special needs. This unique program was created locally by members of the Fresno Fire Department.

This year was extra special for many reasons. Not only was it a big milestone year, but they also had a local burn survivor kid and his family join them at the Fair. Among those firefighters was a Champ Camp counselor, Moose! Our survivor and his family got to spend the evening playing games, riding rides, and enjoying the Big Fresno Fair with the firefighters. Thank you for helping create wonderful memories for our survivor and his family.

AARBF Bids a Fond Farewell to McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern

All of us at AARBF are exceptionally grateful for McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern and the huge impact she has had on our team and community. As of October 20th, McKenzie has moved on from her staff position with the foundation but will be with us at future events and programs.

McKenzie joined the staff in January 2020 and this year segued into her role as Camps and Recreation Manager. McKenzie’s family perspective as the daughter of a burn survivor has always been valued, as is her infectious high energy and deep connection to the people we serve and the amazing core of volunteers who make our programs what they are. It was always her priority that no survivor or their family feels alone through the process of healing, surviving, and ultimately thriving.

Unlike the ones made of soap, this Bubble will never pop and disappear, and we cannot wait until the next time we all gather at camp and other recreation events. We wish McKenzie every good fortune and inspiration in her new endeavor. They are lucky to have her.

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:

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

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

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


For questions, please contact us at

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:

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to McKenzie Dern at

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:

Please visit our Events Calendar for support groups available in October and November.

Or, contact us at for more information.

November 23-24: ALL AARBF Offices closed

December: Holiday Parties – see story above for dates, locations and registration information!

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