Michael Knopf

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Survivor Services Care Manager (Northern CA)

Michael Knopf

Michael Knopf, along with his father and sister survived a house fire in September of 2000. Sustaining third degree burns over a considerable portion of their bodies, Michael and his sister Lea received treatment at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Burn Unit, where they were soon after introduced to the AARBF. Less than two years after the fire, Michael and his sister attended AARBF’s Champ Camp for the first time. As young burn survivors, Champ Camp exposed them to a vast and welcoming community of supporters and fellow survivors. With such a positive impact on his life, Michael continued to be an active participant in many different AARBF events over the years like: Champ Camp, The Getaway, The Young Adult Summit, The Ski/Surf Trip, and the Aquarium Adventure. With these events being so meaningful to him, it was a natural transition for Michael to become a volunteer when he was finally old enough.

Michael began volunteering at AARBF events at 18, when he became a Counselor-in-Training at Champ Camp. His role was to assist camp counselors with day-to-day tasks, while trying to be a positive role model for younger burn survivors. At that time, Michael also volunteered at the AARBF San Francisco office where he was exposed to the tremendous amount of effort and care the AARBF provides for anyone who is or was affected by burn injuries. He cherished these opportunities as it was a chance to give back in a meaningful way to this organization, which had done so much for him and his family. A few years later, Michael attended Champ Camp as a counselor, where each day he strived to provide the younger generation of burn survivors with the same magical experience he had received as a camper.

Professionally, Michael spent 10 years serving communities in the San Francisco Bay Area in a customer service capacity, at two local bicycle shops. His enthusiasm for bicycles stems from the sense of freedom, adventure and mobility that cycling provided as a child, post-burn injury. His customer-facing role at these bicycle shops allowed him to connect with the local cycling community and become a valuable resource to countless individuals who were at different stages of their cycling journey.

Moving forward, Michael is both honored and excited to take this step as a Survivor Services Care Manager for the AARBF, as he knows first-hand how impactful being a beneficiary of the AARBF services can be. With strong relationship building and interpersonal skills, he hopes to utilize his experience and perspective as a burn survivor to make meaningful connections with others who were also affected by burn injuries so that they can receive the best possible support and care throughout their journey.