September 2021 Burn Bulletin

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September 2021 Burn Bulletin

Our 50th Anniversary Gala Has Gone Virtual!

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, our in-person Gala will be postponed until October 2022 to ensure the safety of our supporters and staff. In lieu of an in-person celebration of our 50th Anniversary, the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation invites our friends, family and community, to attend our FREE Virtual 50th Anniversary Gala on October 2, 2021. Event includes the unveiling of AARBF’s “Origins of Stop, Drop and Roll” museum exhibit, special guest appearances and online auction.

Registration is required to access the virtual event. Click here to visit our special event page. While on the site, you can take advantage of a limited-time offer to help us toast 50 Years of Service to the California Burn Community by getting a commemorative bottle of sparkling wine!

We will also be including some photos from the Northern California Photo Contest into the virtual event. The contest closed on August 15th and successfully collected more than 100 photos from survivors, volunteers, and fire service. The Photo Contest Committee extends a sincere thank you to everyone who submitted a photo, donated to the contest, and volunteered their time.

In accordance with local health and safety guidelines, the Contest Committee made the decision to postpone the finale event. The Committee looks forward to donating the winning photos to two Northern California Burn centers this fall. Please keep an eye out for more information. In the meantime, we look forward to sharing these photos with you and hope that you will join us on October 2, 2021!

Watch our social media on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, for a special announcement on how you can start participating in the 50th Anniversary Virtual Gala!

Get Your 50 Stories Book Today!

The much anticipated 50 Stories book is in stock and ready to order. Learn how one moment can change a person’s life forever by reading stories from burn survivors, their families, and others impacted by burns and the Alisa Ann Burn Foundation.

This limited-edition book is expected to go quickly. Click here to order yours today!

Enjoying the Great Outdoors

After a year away, we were so excited to host our annual Outdoor Trip and get back to Lake Alpine and the Calaveras Big Trees State Park. We were at full capacity with 20 burn survivor youths, volunteers and community partners.

The weekend activities included time on the lake swimming, fishing, paddle boarding, kayaking and relaxing on the beach. Everyone enjoyed the opportunity to get in some rock climbing with members of the amazing Calaveras County Search and Rescue. On top of these incredible activities, we enjoyed lots of time with old friends, playing games and enjoying great meals together.

We would like to thank all of those involved with making this trip happen, including our fabulous volunteers: Grizzy, Gidget, Viper, Day, Tiger Lily, Barbie, Chop Suey, Flamingo, Jack Rabbit and of course our lead volunteer Dash who puts in so many hours to make sure this all happens.

We also greatly appreciate our community partners who helped make this trip possible: Chapel in the Pines, Calaveras County Search and Rescue, Sierra Nevada Adventure Co., Ebbetts Pass Fire Fighters Association, and Arnold’s Angels.

Burn Survivors Enjoyed a Day of Kayaking in Southern California

On August 14, 2021, AARBF hosted an adult day trip in Long Beach. We had a group of 8 survivors and their guests who especially enjoyed the opportunity to visit and catch up with each other!

While kayaking, the group got to see jellyfish and a boat and water display from the Long Beach Fire Department Rescue Boat/Lifeguard Boat/The Marine Safety Division. In addition to fun on the water, we also enjoyed lunch at the nearby Will Rogers Mini Park, courtesy of the Aymar family – Bob, Leslie, Amy and Lindsey.

We extend a special thank you to volunteers Rajah and Hamster as well as members of the Long Beach Fire Department Rescue Boat for helping to make this day special.

AARBF Board and Staff Gather for Biannual Retreats

In August, the AARBF Staff, Board and Council of Advisors were able to safely gather for our biannual In-Person staff and Board/Council of Advisors Retreats.

On August 26-27, 2021, the AARBF staff gathered at the AARBF El Cerrito office in Northern California to discuss finishing 2021 strong, as well as to plan our activities and events for 2022! It wasn’t all work and no play, the AARBF staff participated in a team building activity of learning to sew their own zippered bags, as well as attended AARBF’s very own Expression Series virtually, featuring Sadie Wilcox with a sketch class.

On August 27-29, the AARBF Board and Council of Advisors met in-person for the first time in more than a year and half in Emeryville, CA. The AARBF staff, Board and Council of Advisors kicked off the weekend with an outdoor lunch, followed by a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training. Board and Council members attended in-person or logged on virtually for the training. The weekend continued with Committee reports, planning for finishing 2021 strong and thinking about AARBF’s next strategic plan.

We are so grateful for the dedication, passion and hard work of the AARBF staff, Board and Council who ensured a safe, healthy and productive weekend for all!

Sketching to Help Heal the Soul

On August 26, 2021, our monthly Expression Series session was focused on art. The special guest speaker was Sadie “Phoenix” Wilcox. Sadie guided our 25 guests on how to use the highs and lows in their lives to create beautiful and meaningful landscapes. Her lesson included a demonstration on the different types of pencils that can create different shadowing affects. We even learned some new techniques for using an eraser! We greatly appreciate Sadie spending this time with us, sharing her wisdom and guidance.

The next Expression Series session will be Music Expression on Thursday, September 23, 2021, at 7:00pm. Our special guest speaker will be Bob Aymar. He will be sharing about his love for music and how he has found healing among the piano keys! Click here to register. Registration closes on Thursday, September 16, so we have time to mail out your supplies.

Enjoy a Night of Football While Supporting AARBF

Take in a fun night of football at Stanford Stadium and support AARBF! When you purchase tickets to the November 5th game of Stanford vs. Utah, $10 of each ticket sold will be donated back to AARBF. Tickets must be purchased through the special-order link to benefit AARBF. Follow this link to purchase yours today:

AARBF Celebrated National Wellness Month on Social Media

During the month of August, Wellness Wednesday met National Wellness Month! We spent the month looking at the wide variety of resources available to provide overall and balanced wellness to our burn community.

From support in the form of recreational activities, such as participating in our Getaway Family Camp and Expression Series to the satisfaction you can feel by learning how to be productive, rather than just busy!

A new video was added to the Multimedia Resource Library, courtesy of Rana “Lil Bear” Stephan. She created the video to help show our campers the best way to cover a cough in public. This is an important lesson even when we are not experiencing a global pandemic!

We also focused our attention on how our burn survivors are coping with the devasting wildfires. Wildfires are stressful for everyone and bring up feelings of fear, helplessness, anger, grief and loss (these are just a sample of the many feelings). Our body has built in responses that help us respond to danger and put us into action for survival. Yet when someone has already experienced a traumatic event, especially but not limited to a burn due to fire, old trauma and unresolved trauma can be activated. Wildfires have so many of the triggers associated with a traumatic event. The Multimedia Resource Library has a downloaded flyer available to help guide burn and trauma survivors through this difficult time.

To view all of the videos and downloadable materials we have available, visit our website at

Volunteer Opportunties:

These are upcoming events and activities. Please check with your regional office for more information.


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:

September 23: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Music Expression, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or

September 25: Sprinkler Fitters Local 483 Annual Golf Tournament

September 30: 38th Annual Southern California Golf Tournament


October 2: 50th Anniversary Gala, contact Jennifer “Jem” Radics-Johnson at or 818-848-0223 Ext. 12.

October 3-9: National Fire Prevention Week

October 3: (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.

October 5: (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.

October 7: (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.

October 9: Northern California Kayaking Trip, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19

October 12: (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.

October 13: (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.

October 14: (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.

October 19: (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.

October 21: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Statewide Support Group – Online, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or to receive log-in information.

October 22-24: Phoenix Society World Burn Congress

October 28: (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.

October 28: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Writing Expression, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or

November 5: AARBF Night at Stanford Stadium, Stanford vs. Utah football game

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.