2016 Burn Survivors Week - Derek Block
We will be bringing you stories of the participants of our 2016 Firefighters Burn Survivors Week. Our first story is Phoenix Firefighter Derek Block:
November 2014 was shaping up to be a wonderful time for the Block family .... Derek and his wife of eight plus years had just given birth to their second child, a baby girl. Derek's family was doing so well, he decided to go back to work a bit early.
This was nearly a fatal decision.
A week after his daughter's birth, Derek was first on the scene for a single-house story fire. He went into the building and felt the heat on his ears and fingers. He tried to back up and couldn't find his partner. He did not want to leave him, so Derek stayed inside.
Eventually, Derek felt his stomach start to burn, "I was getting disoriented and began crawling out. I had no choice. My partner - also burned - was looking for me and we actually bumped into each other and got out together."
Derek had 3rd and 4th degree burns on more than a quarter of his body. He would spend 34 days in the burn unit - have five surgeries and receive nearly 30 skin grafts. There were burns on nearly every major part of his body - Derek's calves, thighs, stomach, back, hands, left bicep, right wrist.
During his rehab, he focused on gaining strength worked on rehabbing his hands and the support of his community. "My family, church, members of the fire dept., and IAFF Local 493 - were amazing. Here is my wife a week out of the hospital herself - with two young children - supporting me every step of the way."
Derek heard about the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation and the Adaptive Sports Center trip through Lionel Crowther during his rehab. "While I got back to my job in five months - about a year earlier than some expected - there is something to be said about meeting this extended network of firefighters who know what you are going through."
While his family and extended fire family were terrific, "meeting people who have been in similar situations - some worse - just strengthens my resolve and helps me get through my recovery."
2016 Survivors Week - Eric Rose
The DC Firefighters Burn Foundation's Burn Survivors Week is open to firefighter burn survivors of all ages and demographics, and the experience at the Adaptive Sports Center is not just for recent survivors. Kansas City Firefighter Eric Rose was burned in a 2007 fire, but is attending his first Burn Survivors Week.
"The physical scars from burns can vanish over time, but the mental ones never really do," Rose said. "The healing process takes time .... You are never fully healed emotionally."
Rose was injured from backdraft in a commercial fire. He ended up spending nearly 40 days in the hospital, 33 of them in the burn unit and five in the ICU.
"After I was burned, I was in a deep, dark place. I was not sure how I would deal going back to work, then I met Lionel Crowther, Charlie Shyab and some other members of the Foundation at a firefighters event in Phoenix. I finally decided to attend."
Part of the healing process for burn survivors is attending the Week and Adaptive Sports Center. For Rose, who suffered burns over 30 percent of his body and needed four skin grafts, attending the Week is as much for him as it is the more recent survivors.
"I'm so grateful to be here and to continue to learn and heal. The need for support never ends ... To see some of the more recent survivors here is incredible. You can see the relief and emotion in their eyes the first time out. They are helping me as much as I am helping them."
2016 Burn Survivors Week - Darin Unruh
Darin Unruh was dead. In November of 2008, he went into a house fire in Northeast Houston and went to rescue a person trapped in a back bedroom. However, his regulator came out and his helmet and hood both came off. He suffered from severe smoke inhalation with burns on his face, neck and arms. Eventually, he was found by another crew and was declared dead on the scene.
Six weeks later Darin woke up from a coma in a Houston burn unit with several skin grafts including grafts on both eyes and later received a cornea transplant in his left eye.
"This was the start of what's been an extreme roller coaster and finding people who could relate was very difficult. The recovery is hard physically and mentally. I didn't know where to begin."
Thankfully, Darin's rock star wife, family and church were all there to help, but he was more or less forced back to work.
"After a year and a half to around two years, I returned to work sooner than I should of. I was still doing PT ... I still am and to this day, have issues with my eye. I am still trying to figure everything out. However, this trip is just what the doctor ordered."
"I've only been with the guys for a day and a half, having people here who understand what you have been through and seeing guys who have had injuries worse than mine and persevere, that really gives you strength and hope. Talking about what has happen has been difficult, but I have already gotten so much out of being here and will take these lessons and experiences with me for the rest of my life."
Sixth Engine Restaurant Fundraiser
January 19th, 2016 -Thank you to Sixth Engine Restaurant and the nurses at Children's National Hospital for assisting with fundraising efforts over the holiday season. Our annual Christmas tree fundraiser was once again a huge success! More than $8,000 was raised and Sixth Engine Restaurant donated all unsold trees to low-income families in the District.
Meanwhile, our friends at Children's National raised nearly $1,000 by selling these long-sleeve t-shirts in conjunction with the upcoming Burn Awareness Week (February 1-7). Did you know there are an estimated 45,000 hospitalizations related to burn injuries annually, with 1/3 of those children? Thanks to everyone who bought a shirt!
December 31st, 2015 - The D.C. Firefighters Burn Foundation (The Foundation) recently donated $180,000 to The Burn Center at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and Children's National Medical Center to assist with burn research and rehabilitation materials, burn equipment and pain management tools as well as survivor support programs.
For the past 11 years, the Foundation has provided financial, emotional, and survivor support programs for youth and adult burn survivors along with injured firefighters throughout the Washington D.C. metro-area.
"The support we receive from the Foundation enables us to continue to offer cutting edge and innovative care to our patients," said Jeffrey Shupp, MD, director of The Burn Center at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. "Much of our aftercare program and scientific research would not exist without their support."
Specifically, monies donated to the The Burn Center at MedStar Washington Hospital Center will go toward Adaptive Sports programs, the World Burn Congress and additional survivor support programs managed by the burn rehab team as well as patient care unit and the trauma center.
Meanwhile, the $60,000 donated toward Children's National Medical Center? will benefit pediatric burn care - the hospital will purchase pain management/distraction tools for patients undergoing treatment, OR equipment and a start a fund for young burn survivors scar management.
"We are extremely grateful to all of our donors - individuals, corporations and businesses big and small - every single dollar goes toward assisting burn survivors in their lengthy and painful recoveries," said Jason Woods, D.C. Firefighters Burn Foundation president. "We plan to continue helping burn survivors throughout the area for decades to come and are able to do so due to the generosity of our community."
The Foundation would like to thank corporate sponsor Macys, the Bert W. Martin Foundation, George Washington University's Pi Alpha Kappa and those who donated during the year, especially as part of the Foundation's fall fundraising drive.
Sportrock Climbing Center
December 15th, 2015 - The Foundation recently took several local burn survivors rocking climbing to Sportrock Climbing Center Sportrock Climbing Centers as part of our outdoor recreation program. Foundation Board member and survivor Charlie Shyab (seen in the photos) helps survivors to push their limits and encourage them to learn new skills.
Fireman's Challenge & Pi Kappa Alpha
October 20th, 2015 - A BIG thank you to the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at The George Washington University for its continued support of the Foundation. Throughout the year, the fraternity holds fundraisers including a "Fireman's Challenge" with GW sororities to raise money and awareness for the Foundation and for fire safety on campus. This year, the Pikes donated more than $47,000 to the Foundation! We are grateful for this long lasting partnership which started in 2005.
(L-R) Foundation Vice President Charlie Shyab and Secretary Bowie Kuhn accept the check and donation from Pi Kappa Alpha members and Fireman's Challenge co-chairs Lance Hansen and Rodrigo Rodriguez
September 28th, 2015 - The DC Firefighters Burn Foundation recently took four area burn survivors to the Adaptive Sports Center in Crested Butte, CO and spent a week participating in outdoor activities such as canoeing, biking, backpacking and rock climbing to help enhance quality of life, empower individuals and improve health, well-being and independence. Check out the videos below:
DC Firefighters Burn Foundation - Town Bike Ride from Adaptive Sports Center on Vimeo.
September 9th, 2015 -
The DC Firefighters Burn Foundation recently received a $15,000 donation from Macy’s, which will go toward the Foundation’s new scar management fund at Children’s National Medical Center, specifically toward providing laser scar management and the purchase of pressure garments for young burn survivors.
Macy’s, a longtime Foundation supporter, has donated more than $300,000 over the past decade supporting the World Burn Congress, SOAR, the Foundation’s outdoor recreation program and the renovation of the rehabilitation gym at The Burn Center at Med Star Washington Hospital Center. Thank you to Macy’s for being a valued partner since 2005!
July 5th, 2015 -
The D.C. Firefighters Burn Foundation (DCFFBF) recently received the prestigious John A. Moncrief Award, presented by the American Burn Association to an individual or fire service organization for outstanding contributions to burn prevention and burn care.
A longtime physician in the United States Army, Dr. Moncrief spent a majority of his career devoted to burn care and burn research. He was instrumental in developing new techniques and innovate methods to care and treat burn injuries. Dr. Moncrief also was active in the development of the Burn Unit at the Medical College of South Carolina, one of the oldest continually operating schools of medicine nationwide.
The DCFFBF is the leading organization in the Washington D.C.-metro area supporting burn prevention efforts and improving the quality of life for burn survivors. The foundation was recognized for its outstanding outreach and education programs including:
- Raising more than $1 million dollars for the The Burn Center at Med Star Washington Hospital Center.
- Sponsoring burn survivors at the annual World Burn Congress.
- Helping Children's National Medical Center (CNMC) with a recent expansion that now allows CNMC to care for all pediatric burn survivors in the Washington D.C. metro area.
- Hosting the Annual Firefighters Burn Survivors Week that works to support quality of life for people with disabilities through outdoor adventure activities.
- Providing a wide variety of survivor support programs for burn survivors from the Washington metropolitan region.
- Providing assistance for the families of firefighters hospitalized for line of duty burn injuries.
Founded as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization in 2004 by active and retired Washington, D.C. firefighters, the DCFFBF is dedicated to assisting in the recovery and rehabilitation of injured firefighters and burn survivors through burn research, treatment and rehabilitation programs.
Burn Foundation donates $86,000 MedStar
December 19th, 2014 - D.C. Firefighters Burn Foundation Donates $86,300 to Burn Center at MedStar Washington Hospital Center
The Foundation Celebrates 10-Year Partnership with MedStar
WASHINGTON - On Friday, the D.C. Firefighters Burn Foundation presented the Burn Center at MedStar Washington Hospital Center with a contribution of $86,300, marking a 10-year partnership between the two organizations.
The D.C. Firefighters Burn Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by active and retired Washington, D.C. firefighters. The foundation is dedicated to assisting in the recovery and rehabilitation of injured firefighters and burn survivors in the D.C. metropolitan area.
"We are pleased to continue our support for the Burn Center and the important work it provides to our community," said Jason Woods, president of the D.C. Firefighters Burn Foundation. "Thank you to our team, supporters and corporate partners for making today's contribution possible."
The foundation has donated to the Burn Center every year since 2004. This partnership has supported initiatives such as the renovation of the firefighters' rehabilitation gym--which helps patients regain strength, mobility and function--as well as the Firefighters' Burn and Surgical Research Institute.
In addition to today's donation to the Burn Center, the foundation gave $60,000 to Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C in October. For 2015, the foundation recently approved $25,000 for its children's burn camp and $45,000 for its Adaptive Sports Program.
The Burn Center at MedStar Washington Hospital Center is the only adult burn treatment center in the Washington metropolitan area. This 20-bed facility features a multidisciplinary team approach to burn care that provides comprehensive, cutting-edge care for burn patients. With more than 450 admissions annually, the Burn Center at the Hospital Center cares for an array of thermal, electrical and chemical injuries, as well as soft tissue lesions.
To learn more about the D.C. Firefighters Burn Foundation or to make a donation, please visit www.dcffburnfoundation.org.
Macy's Donates to the Foundation
DC Firefighter's Burn Foundation makes a donation
September 30th, 2014 -
L-R front row: Kurt Newman CEO Children's National Medical Center, Charlie Shyab DC Firefighters Burn Foundation, Jennifer Fritzeen Children's National Medical Center, Jason Woods DC Firefighters Burn Foundation, Dr. Byrd Children's National Medical Center; Back Row L-R: Steve Mills DC Firefighter's Burn Foundation, Ed Smith DC Firefighter's Association Local 36, Tommy Keelan DC Firefighter's Burn Foundation, Fire Chief Eugene Jones, DC Fire & Emergency Medical Services.
3rd Annual Firefighters Burn Survivors Week
January 27th, 2014 - Each and every day, thousands of career and volunteer firefighters place themselves in harm’s way in the performance of duty. They serve their respective communities selflessly and tirelessly.
A burn injury can affect a firefighter’s life in many ways. Without exception, burns are life altering. They can also be career changing or life ending injuries. Burn scarring can affect mobility, appearance, and functional use of the extremities. Inhalation of smoke, burning debris and toxic byproducts of combustion may seriously or permanently damage the abilities to breathe, function and perform job-related duties.
The long-term effects of a burn are not just physical. Following a burn injury, firefighters are at risk of developing psychological trauma associated with the events of injury, a lack of confidence in their professional abilities, and stress related to the time away from the job. As a result of a burn, an injured firefighter must deal with the emotional, physical and financial challenges of recovery and a potentially career ending injury.
DC Firefighters Burn Foundation Winter 2014 from Adaptive Sports Center on Vimeo.
The DC Firefighters Burn Foundation, in partnership with the Adaptive Sports Center and Scott Safety, will be hosting the 3rd Annual Firefighters Burn Survivors Week in Crested Butte, Colorado. This years event will take place January 21st through the 29th, 2014.
For the past 27 years, the Adaptive Sports Center’s mission has been to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities through outdoor adventure activities. The programs they offer empower their participants in their daily lives and have an enduring impact on their health, self-confidence and well-being.
Please follow us on Facebook January 22nd through the 29th as we take part in the 3rd annual Firefighter Burn Survivor Week. We will be posting daily updates with stories, photos, and videos of the nine firefighters attending this years trip. Again, thank you to all of our sponsors for making this week possible.
IAFF 4th District Burn Coordinator
February 19th, 2013 - Welcome to the future website for the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation. Please check back here frequently for updates. Please register with the website, if you have not done so already!