Childrens' Burn Camp
The International Association of Fire Fighters
recently held its 5th National Children's Burn Camp from September
25 to October 1, 1999 in Washington D.C.
There were four burn camps from Canada, and forty from
across the United States that were invited to attend. Each
camp was asked to send an I.A.F.F. member,
firefighter/counselor, and a camper between the age of 13
The Nova Scotia Firefighters' Burn Treatment Society, one
of the Canadian camps invited, chose David Collier, a
firefighter with the Department of National Defense, and
14 year old Sherry Carruthers to represent them.
Photo from left to right
Sherry Carruthers, Fredericton, New Brunswick
Alfred Whitehead, General President, International Association
David Collier, Chair, Nova Scotia Firefighters' Burn
Treatment Society and firefighter,Department of National
David Collier was instrumental in starting the Nova Scotia
Firefighters' Burn Treatment Society Summer Burn Camp two
years ago, and acts as the Camp Director as well as
Sherry Carruthers is from Fredericton, New Brunswick, and
attended the Nova Scotia Firefighters' Burn Treatment
Society Summer Burn Camps as well as one put on by the
Cape Breton Firefighters Burn Care Society.
Sherry was 14 months old when she was severely burned by
hot water. She sustained burns to 48 percent of her body,
including her arms, legs and back. She spent seven months
at the IWK Grace Health Centre Burn Unit and has been back
several times since then, having had at least two dozen
About one year ago, Sherry met a Shriner, Blain Calhoun,
in Fredericton. He told her how Shriners look after burned
children. Thanks to this meeting, Sherry went to the
Shriners Hospital in Montreal, where she spent a month,
receiving a series of surgeries. She will be going back in
about one year for more surgery.
David and Sherry spent a week in Washington, D.C.,
visiting most of the historic sites including the
Washington Monument, Lincoln, Jefferson, and all the war
memorials. They also visited Arlington National Cemetery,
several of the Smithsonian Museums, the National Zoo and
the Canadian Embassy.
The high-lite of the trip was a visit to the White House.
They were given a special tour of the White House and then
treated to a demonstration on the south lawn by the Secret
Service that included their dog teams, and the Emergency
Response Team. After this everyone was surprised by the
arrival of Vice President Al Gore, who took the time to
meet every child and firefighter there.
The National Burn Camp gave all of the children and
firefighters a trip of a life time, but more importantly,
it gave the children a chance to meet other like
themselves. They could be like every other teenager with
out worrying about their burns. Scars were not an issue at
camp, as everyone there had scars to some degree or
Sherry Carruthers and Vice President of the United States,
The children had the chance to meet other young people
like themselves, discuss issues that only burn survivors
can talk about, and for many of them, realize that none of
their feelings were wrong. They are still the same person
they always were.
The friendships and memories made at the National
Children's Burn Camp will last a lifetime.