Parkland's Camp I-Thonka-Chi deemed a success50 attend annual camp for children with burn injuries
DALLAS – Since 1992, hundreds of children with burn injuries have looked forward to the first week of June in anticipation of attending Parkland Health & Hospital System’s annual burn camp. This year 50 children attended the week-long camp free from stares that often accompany their injuries.
Camp I-Thonka-Chi, which is Choctaw for “a place that makes one strong or fearless, not afraid to face life,” has hosted hundreds of children and teens since its inception and provided a place for them to interact with peers who have experienced similar circumstances.
“The camp is a place that the campers can feel safe,” said Donna Crump, Parkland physical therapy manager and director of Camp I-Thonka-Chi. “It’s a chance to be who they are – kids.”
Patrick Rudisill, 16, is a burn survivor who eagerly awaits the first week of June and has been attending camp for several years.
“I like seeing the kids who are here for the first time,” he said. “They’re coming to a place to have fun with friends who have been through similar things.”
Internationally recognized, the Parkland Regional Burn Center is one of the premiere burn treatment facilities in the nation, serving a geographic area of more than 100,000 square miles, including north and east Texas and southern Oklahoma. Parkland admits over 650 patients of all ages with serious burn injuries annually and treats more than 1,200 outpatients.
The burn camp, which is for children ages 6 to 18, is unlike some other charity programs – it is not supported by a national organization. Children can attend for free thanks to the generous donations of Parkland employees and area donors. Camp John Marc, which hosts the annual event at its facility in Meridian, Texas, also helps with fund-raising so more children can attend. During the weeklong event campers build friendships, improve social skills and simply have fun without being self-conscious of their scars or injuries.
“It really is a place that warms your heart and lifts your soul,” Crump added.
For more information on Camp I-Thonka-Chi or to make a donation, please visit www.parklandburncamp.org .