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This fundraiser ended on 10/31/12

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Please "Give Forward" so the help we received will be available for others to experience the healing and inspiring World Burn Congress.

Our lives will be forever changed by the experience of the World Burn Congress, an annual international event that brings together more than 800 burn survivors, their families, care givers, burn care professionals and firefighters. We were encouraged to share our stories, and received support and knowledge of burn recovery. For many, it was the first opportunity to meet and share with others who have experienced a burn trauma.

With the help of the Maricopa Health Foundation and generous donations from Nadine and BobbyDurham, Ruth Rimmer, PhD, Brewer Law Firm, and Matthew Cunningham, PC, we were able to attend the World Burn Congress this year. Your donations help burn survivors attend the WBC and share their inspirational stories of survival, courage and personal growth.

Click on the Related Links to read each of our stories:

Alejandra Tarango,   Linda Schmidt,   Johnny & Monica Munoz,   Charlie Kleck,   Chamisa Hembree,   Meri Hembree



My name is Chamisa Hembree. I was burned by hot oil when I was 9 months old. My father was deep frying with a frydaddy, my mother was out doing laundry. I pulled the cord of the fryer and brought the fryer and the boiling oil down on my head, back & legs. Unfortunately, my parents didn't know to cool the oil first.  They rushed me to the nearest hospital. There I almost died but was brought back to life. They said I had received third degree burns over one third of my body and second degree over another third. I lost all but about an inch of hair around the bottom of my head. I had 43 reconstructive plastic surgeries from age 1-18.

When I was 16, I was contacted by the Arizona Burn Foundation regarding the AZ Children's Burn Camp - Camp Courage. It was there that I met a little girl in my cabin, Meri, with severe facial burns who later became my adopted sister. I also met my the love of my life that year although it would be another 20 years before he and I realized we were meant to be together. Camp Courage did wonders for my self-esteem as it was the first time I was around burn survivors with the exception of the hospital burn wards as a young child. I continue to volunteer with the Foundation for Burns and Trauma, recently renamed Arizona Burn Foundation.

This past summer I met a young lady of amazing strength and courage who functioned as my LIT at Camp Courage named Mia. When I was approached by Linda Schmidt at camp this year, who coincidently was in my cabin the first year she attended Camp Courage, about the prospect of attending the World Burn Congress I immediately thought of Meri and Mia.

I developed an auto-immune disorder because of my burns which still affects my life today and it has been actively out of remission for the last 2 years. However, because of my disorder I am currently unable to work as I am taking a number of strong "chemo" type medications which make me terribly ill in an effort to put my SJIA back in remission. Because the medications, the disease itself and the side effects of the medications I am applying for disability, and have no income.

I have heard many wonderful things about the World Burn Congress and thought it would be an amazing experience for all three of us but I wasn't able to go without help from the Maricopa Health Foundation. I very much appreciate this opportunity and think it has been a life changing experience for Meri and Mia as well as myself.

Thank you, Chamisa

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