October 2023 Burn Bulletin

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October 2023 Burn Bulletin

“Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

Over Labor Day weekend, September 2-4, AARBF hosted the annual Getaway Family Camp at Camp Oakhurst. With 117 participants, this was one of the largest Getaways we have held. Guests enjoyed many activities such as the Family Olympics, Kid’s Camp, a giant swing, paintball, archery tag, axe throwing, a dance, an open mic and several support groups. Our theme for the weekend was from the popular Dr. Suess book “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

  • You already have everything you need in order to succeed. You are in control of your destiny.
  • You have brains in your head.
  • You have feet in your shoes.
  • You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
  • You are on your own.  And you know what you know.
  • And YOU are the guy who will decide where to go.

Thank you to our volunteers: Hydra, Lenny, Moose, Figgy, Cinderella, Viper, Ricky Rescue, D, Chop Suey, Shred, Guava, MeeMee, and our two staff members Bubbles and Monkey. This weekend would not have been possible without their dedication and support.

Celebrating the Life and Legacy of James Bosch

The Celebration of Life for James, on September 10th, was an amazing touchstone on a long path of grief and joy bound together, the way our messy, hard, gorgeous, challenging, inspiring lives each and all can be.  One thing heard, and felt, over and over again, was how we all will miss his smile, laugh, and dancing.

As Martha Graham said, “The body says what words cannot,” and we are not sure our words can ever describe James’s impact.

James Bosch was a force and a rare find—those who were lucky enough to come into his path, felt their world grow a little brighter and their burdens a little less heavy.

James connected with AARBF in his 20’s when he became part of Champ Camp, an event he credited with starting a life-long passion of working with burn survivors that also provided the healing he did not know he needed. His commitment to the community was relentless and profound, and impacted more people than we can collectively imagine. He knew what it was like being bullied and feeling isolated, and the confusion of how to navigate the world.

“AARBF impacted my life because it grew me up, gave me a career and life direction, and most importantly life-long wonderful friends” -James

We will never be the same, because of James, and he knew that power to be available to all of us, as he is with us all.

To help carry James’ legacy forward and ensure his continued impact on the burn survivor community, we have created the James Bosch Therapy Grant. Funds for this grant will give burn survivors and their families access to receive therapy services, which was so very important to James. If you are a survivor or family member, you may apply for a therapy grant on our website. For questions, please reach out to us at info@aarbf.org.

Our AARBF Community Shares Stories in Honor of Alisa Ann’s Birthday

On September 8th, we took to social media to mark a special day for the foundation—Alisa Ann Ruch’s birthday! In honor of Alisa, we asked our followers to share how the foundation, founded in Alisa’s name, has impacted their life. Below are some of the responses we received.

“My son is a burn survivor. He was burned in Feb 2021. He has attended champ camp since 2021 & loves it! I’m so grateful for this foundation & the things they do for burn survivors” – B Miller

“Became involved with this great organization in late 70’s. Dedicated all my working years to this Foundation that I so Love. Remembering all the great Staff, Volunteers and especially the Kids. Made me a better Man.” – K Hewett

“I don’t even know where to begin. Do you even have time to hear all I have to say? You asked! Hi, my name is Svetlana. I’m a Burn survivor. I went to Champ Camp from 1997-2013/ Including YAS/ Fishing Trips / Surfing Trips in Pacifica/ Outcamp Family / much more!

When I came to camp at seven years old, I had never met anyone with a burn, especially those with far more severe burns than myself. It felt like Home, whatever that felt like, being adopted – with an unknown “story” of my burn survivor story. I never felt like I fit in anywhere, and I never wore shorts out in public for the first seven years of my life due to shame, fear, and bullying that came from my burn– But my entire life changed when AARBF became my family! The counselors have watched me grow up and attended my graduations, weddings, family events, and friendships as adults. We have even grieved counselors whom we’ve lost many over my time, most recently, Jamba. I wouldn’t be who I am today as an adult without Champ Camp- I learned many life skills and life lessons and experienced things I would have never done before. Champ Camp gave me a safe place for my fear, hurt, sadness, and confusion, but most importantly, it challenged me and allowed me to be brave in my skin! If you made it this far, pictures to follow!!! AARBF is for a lifetime- Alisa’s legacy is monumental, and words can’t express my unwavering love and gratitude for the relationships and pure happiness Champ Camp has brought me.

Shout Outs: To all the extraordinary volunteer counselors who gave up an entire week to be at Camp with all of us survivors – and to those who promise to show up again year after year!

Just hang loose!

Incredibly Grateful to the counselors who became family – I love you- Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve healed parts of me- I would have never been able to had it not been for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation” – S Lucia

“I am Valentina’s grandmother. I believe this was last year’s Champ Camp. Will forever be grateful to AARBF for all the love, support shown to ALL burn survivors. Valentina has benefited from this foundation since she was an infant. Thank you AARBF and may you continue to rest in eternal heaven Alisa” – B Serrano

“I still remember the first year I attended Champ Camp and how nervous I was to meet all these people. Ever since that day, I fell in love with Camp. This foundation has brought me closer to some of my family members and helped me understand the kind of person I want to be. Camp has given me some the best friends in the world. I absolutely love attending Camp, and helping spread the love and strength this foundation represents. I am saddened that Alisa Ann is no longer with us but in her honor, we continue to thrive.”— _rey24

“I was burned when I was a year old and didn’t know a place as magical as camp existed for survivors like me. Before attending Champ Camp, I thought I was the only burned kid on the planet. I came from a small town in Northern California and was teased and bullied so I wore thick tights/leggings to cover my scars so I’d be left alone. I was eleven the first time I went to camp and it changed my life! My closest friends to this day are some of the kids I met at camp that first year. I don’t worry what others have to say or their stares anymore. The Alisa Ann Rich Burn Foundation has been the most positive influence I’ve ever had in my life and I couldn’t be more grateful!” — mehghahn

“I am a parent who experienced the most horrific experience any parent can endure to watch your child burn, the foundation helped ease financial difficulties in the first days, weeks, months of an unimaginable moment not only that but the emotional support was priceless. I can’t thank enough everything that they did and continue to do with support families well after. The foundation creates a humble giving community with love and life-long connections” – greeneyejwls

“I was burned at 10 years old my life was changed forever. I was bullied, stared at and judged everywhere I went but my first trip I felt home. Such a level of love and acceptance that I have never experienced in my life. All of those feelings vanished and as the years went on, I learned to be proud of my scars. I am eternally thankful to all of the amazing people that work and have worked to make the foundation what it is!” – adrianporter36

Thank you for sharing your stories. We are humbled and proud to be a part of your burn survivor journey.

The Fundraiser Dinner Raises over $75,000!

On Saturday, September 23rd we hosted our 13th annual AARBF Fundraiser Dinner. With over 200 people in attendance, 85 silent auction items, 20 desserts, and many great live auction items, we were able to raise over $75,000 for AARBF. In addition to bidding on auction items and enjoying delicious food from Tahoe Joe’s, our guests listened to survivors and family members as they shared about the impact the foundation has had on their lives and healing journey.

It takes a lot of effort to put on a dinner for over 200 people. We greatly appreciate the volunteers from the Clovis North Baseball, Clovis North Girls Basketball, FCC Fire Academy, Fresno Fire Explorers, and Lemoore Football. Collectively they helped help us set up, serve dinner, wait on our sponsors, help our attendees with bidding, and post-event cleanup. Thank you for helping to make this a memorable evening for our guests.

We also want to say thank you to our sponsors: RMC Construction, Clawson Honda and Motorsports, Fresno City Firefighters Local 202, Cook Land Company, The Brisky Family, Mid Valley Alarm, PolyNovo, The Hayashi Family and Central Valley Trailer Repair. And thank you to our wonderful photographer, AimsPhotography, our DJ, DJ On Blast, and many others who helped in the collection of the live and silent auction items. We are so appreciative for the support and the opportunity to continue to build connections within our Central Valley Community.

SoCal Burn Unit Creates Centralized Location for Resource Information

AARBF’s Martha Banks along with other community agencies have been working with the Los Angeles General Medical Center to create a centralized spot within their burn unit where patients and providers can obtain information and resources sheets.

The purpose of this repository is to optimize reach and utilization of the diverse services that patients can benefit from and what the different organizations and wellness center offers to support burn survivors and their families during their hospital stay and after discharge.

The information available through the centralized repository is:

  • Name of the centers or organization
  • Services the center or organization provides and the level of care the services can be introduced (hospitalization, post-hospital, etc.)
  • How to refer patients to the center or organization
  • Names and roles of personnel the multidisciplinary burn team may interact with when working with the organization.
  • Any written materials the organization can provide to have on hand for the team and patients such as flyers, what now, etc.

We know the in-hospital experience can be overwhelming and we appreciate being a part of a new system that will allow for information to always be readily available to survivors and their families.

Pancake Breakfast Benefits AARBF

The Alameda Firefighters’ Pancake Breakfast returned after a 3-year hiatus on July 30th. In September, AARBF’s Daniel Chacon had the pleasure of accepting a donation from their event for $3,000! The Alameda Firefighters have been supporters of the foundation for many years, and we are grateful for the generosity of the Alameda community.

Be Fire Wise Inside

As the weather turns cooler, many of us plug a few more things into our electrical outlets. Crock pots and hot pots for comfort food meals, space heaters to keep rooms warm, and more lighting as the days get shorter. When you bring out a device or machine you have not used in a while, inspect the electrical cords. Replace cords that are cracked, damaged, have broken plugs, or have loose connections. And for appliances that generate heat (toaster oven, air fryer, instant pot, slow cooker, space heater) plug them directly into a wall outlet—do not use extension cords or power strips, for your best bet for safety.

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:

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

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

October 8-14: Fire Prevention Week

October 12: Central Coast Burn Relay

November 23-24: ALL AARBF Offices closed

December: Watch our social media for holiday party announcements and registration

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