One of the things that we caught during the Holidays was the Rose Bowl Parade. That’s the big one in Pasadena, California. What made it kind of nice this year was seeing Hannah Storm. She’s a big-time ESPN anchor and sports junkie. We were kind of worried about her. Storm, you see, had an accident and was severely burned. During her Rose Bowl appearance, she had fake hair and eyebrows, and you could clearly see one of her hands bandaged.
Hannah Storm was trying to light a gas grill when it sent a fireball into her face, leaving her with first and second-degree burns on her face, hands and chest. She lost most of her hair and is still battling an infection. She was glad to be back on the air, but still has trouble with her hand, making it difficult for her to pick things up or flip through cue cards.
Seeing Storm made us think of some other burn victims. Most are like her, and never expected to get burned. It was some accident or moment of carelessness. And sadly, it frequently happens to children. Perhaps it’s childhood curiosity or the fact that they don’t yet know what qualifies as dangerous?
Later that evening, while trying to digest too much turkey and tired of football, we saw something inspiring on PBS. It was a profile of a camp designed specifically for young burn victims. Or as they like to call them, burn survivors. We like that better. You can see it for yourself here.
The Central Virginia Burn Camp (CVBC) was established around 20 years ago in Charlottesville by the Charlottesville Professional Firefighters Association. Firefighters, like burn survivors, have some first-hand experience in the dangers and perils of dealing with fire and its destructive nature. For those who have been injured, this destruction is in the form of scars, loss of hair, and often involves months and years of surgery and rehabilitation. CVBC was created to provide youngsters from 7 to 17 a place to be kids, among people who have had similar experiences, and free from the worry of stares and questions. For a week every summer, they just have to be kids.
The Camp is staffed with counselors, therapists, nurses, and firefighters from throughout the state. They engage their young charges in swimming, boating, horseback riding, arts and crafts, and other fun summertime activities. Just like every other kid. And yes, they have an evening bonfire. What would summer camp be without one?
The best part about it is this: Central Virginia Burn Camp is free. They receive sponsorships from a ton of firefighter associations, the University of Virginia Health System, and other like-minded groups. They also are like us, a non-profit, and as such count on donations from individuals to keep stocked up in sunscreen and marshmallows. Many of the kids who go there have been treated right here at VCU and we’ve met some families as their kids go back and forth for therapy and reconstruction surgeries.
You probably know that we’re pretty passionate about the littles that spend time here at Hospital Hospitality House. And we genuinely need and appreciate your donations of time, money and goods. But we had to share this story.