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Allegheny Health Network’s West Penn Hospital Burn Center Celebrates 50 Years of Life-Saving Care at 33rd Annual Summer Burn Camp

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Childhood Burn Survivors to Recognize their Dedicated AHN Care Teams at Honorary Birthday Party

Pittsburgh, Pa Allegheny Health Network’s (AHN) West Penn Burn Center will host its 33rd annual summer camp for children with burn injuries at Camp Kon-O-Kwee in Zelienople starting on Saturday, June 1 through Wednesday, June 5. Nearly 30 kids from Western Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia will participate in five days designed to inspire them to connect by sharing their ongoing journey of recovery. Camp begins at 9 a.m. daily.

“This is a special year for our campers, volunteers and care providers from the West Penn Burn Center – we’re paying tribute to the impact our team has made on burn victims throughout the region for 50 years,” said Ariel Aballay, MD, Medical Director, West Penn Burn Center. “The 50th anniversary is also an important time to recognize the strength and perseverance of pediatric burn victims which has been inspiring us to do our best for decades.”

West Penn Burn Center is the only burn center in the region to receive the honorable verification seal acknowledging excellence in pediatric burn management from the American Burn Association and the American College of Surgeons.

Every year, Burn Camp is organized and hosted by volunteers, AHN staff and former campers. The camp’s theme this year is “Under the Sea,” and will be interwoven into camp activities throughout the week, including special scuba lessons from the Pittsburgh Scuba Center.

“The West Penn Burn Camp serves as a yearly respite for childhood burn survivors to bond and find a sense of community and belonging with one another,” said Linda Leonard, Director of the West Penn Burn Camp.  “This year, by introducing the theme as ‘Under the Sea,’ we hope to create a vibrancy and light-heartedness that our campers can take home with them, especially against the backdrop of harder times they’ve experienced.”

Campers this year range from ages 8 to 16 years old; they will participate in a wide range of activities including trips to Kennywood Park and the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium as well as canoeing, kayaking and fittingly, a movie screening of Aquaman. Time will also be spent at Camp Kon-O-Kwee for relay races, campfires, peer group sessions and talks from local fire departments.

Camp is free of charge to any child that has been treated at West Penn Burn Center, thanks to the generosity of firefighter groups, businesses, organizations and individuals. All camp counselors are also volunteers.

“Established in 1969, the West Penn Burn Center continues to be a national leader in innovative burn care treating both adults and pediatric patients,” continued Aballay. “Our golden anniversary symbolizes our ongoing commitment to providing the best care and compassion possible for burn patients and their families.”

According to the American Burn Association, more than 300 children are seen in emergency rooms and two children die from burn injuries across the country every day. For more information on the Center or to learn more about its community-based programs, visit ahn.org or call 412-578-5295.

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