Julia Downey was 11 years old when she attended her first Burn Camp.
Downey was burned in a campfire accident when she was only two years old and Burn Camp was a place where she got to meet others with scars similar to hers.
“After that first week of camp I already knew I was hooked,” said Downey.
“I had these lifelong friends and I think that’s something unique that you don’t really experience in other camps.”
Downey said that because the campers have all had their lives touched by fire that it’s easier for them to bond with one another.
The BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund has supported more than 1,000 burn survivors like Downey with a one week camp near Squamish every July for the past 26 years. Campers get to have fun while being supported by counsellors and medical professionals for free.
“Everyone at Burn Camp just really cares about not just helping you through your burn injury recovery but seeing you succeed in the rest of your life,” said Downey.
But this year the camp and several fundraising events that support it have been cancelled due to the pandemic.
“It’s devastating for the kids and for all of us because we look forward to it every year,” said Gayanne Pacholzuk B.C. Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund prevention coordinator.
“The Hometown Heroes Lottery is kind of our only fundraiser this year because of the 53 fire departments we all do a lot of fundraising and special events that we have had to cancel this year.”
Organizers are pleased that the Hometown Heroes Lottery has sold out. The money raised goes towards public education and burn survivor support.
But donations are still being accepted on their website to make up for the loss of this year’s fundraising events.
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