Special Camp Helps Burn Victims Heal Emotional Scars


Healing wounds of the skin and the psyche are the challenges facing burn victims, their families, and those who care for them.

And that was the focus of a special camp for burn survivors this weekend in Delaware County.

More than 30 burn survivors and their families gathered Saturday for the eighth annual Burn Survivor Family Camp in Ashley.

At first glance, this could be any summer day camp.

"Welcome to tower! Who's ready to climb?"

But these campers have climbed far beyond the wooden tower they're taking on.

"A freak accident. It just happened so quickly."

Rhonda Foster remembers the 2007 campfire accident that left her and her daughter with 2nd and 3rd degree burns.

"There was a point in time to where I couldn't handle the pain no more and I was ready to end my life," said Foster.

She never expected a camp to help pull her from the depths of that darkness.

"The ropes course and the climbing and stuff help with the nerve damage to our legs and arms, helps build up our muscles," Foster said. "We have our therapy talks. And if it wasn't for that I don't know if I could have made it as far as I am today."

"A burn injury is the most devastating injury that a person can survive," said Doctor Larry Jones, Director of the Burn Center at OSU's Wexner Medical Center. 

"The team of physicians, nurses, therapists, pastoral care, social work, the entire team becomes part of that patient's family if you will."

The Center hosts this Burn Survivor Family Camp as a family reunion of sorts.

"It's very important that at the end of that journey if you will, through their hospitalization and recovery, that you bring people back together and you see the success," Jones said.

Each survivor offering the others lessons in healing and hope.

"If they can walk a little distance, or we can help them with just climbing one or two steps, whatever's comfortable with them, to start," said Foster. "A start is so exciting to me, because you gotta start somewhere."

More than thirty burn survivors and family members took part in the camp, which is one of only a handful of family burn camps in the country.