Meet Vinny. He’s the face behind the Scar Physiology, Treatment and Research Fund at Lehigh Valley Health Network. Our 4/4/12 fundraiser, the “Chix Makeover” will donate proceeds to this important organization.
I’ve had the privilege of receiving this letter from Vinny’s mom. She agreed that I could share it with you.
Thanks again for all the work you’ve put into this fund raiser so far. I know how much it takes to pull these things off and am thrilled that you’ve been so generous and energetic.
The history behind the fund began on a sunny Saturday afternoon on July 8, 2006 with a horrific accidental explosion in our home. Vincent who had just turned 7 years old was watching his older brother (11 Years old) do a science experiment which involved burning some alcohol. He was 15 feet away where he thought he was safe when the vapors accidentally ignited creating a wall of fire that engulfed Vinny and set his shirt on fire. Even though his father extinguished the fire immediately, Vinny sustained 2nd and 3rd degree burns to nearly half of his body. Initial estimates for healing anticipated a minimum 8 week hospital stay – much of that in a medically induced coma, multiple surgeries and graftings and an extensive rehabilitation to learn to walk and use his hands again. Because of the excellent care received at Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Regional Burn Center, Vinny was released in just 22 days.
But the reality of burn injuries quickly settled in on our family as we realized this isn’t something that you walk away from. Serious burn injuries require years (and sometime lifetimes) to recover from. Frequent surgeries, hours of daily scar care, specialized therapies to battle the ever contacting scar tissue become a way of life for the burn survivor and their family. Many hospitals discharge their patients once physical healing has been achieved leaving them lost to navigate their scar management on their own in a very judgemental world. LVHN was different. The amazingly well trained staff try to address all aspects of the healing (physical, emotional, social) required and prepare their patients for the years of hard work ahead.
One burn surgeon in particular, Dr. Sigrid Eberwein, exemplified the spirit of this holistic approach as she went well beyond the normal duties of her job trying to find realistic interventions that would help prevent deleterious effects of scar tissue formation. In her free time, she has piloted several studies using different techniques such as laser therapy to reduce the chronic pain, itching and deformation that burn scars produce. Her tireless efforts and dedication to find a better way for burn survivors inspired my husband and I to form a monetary fund to help her in these studies. Initially called the Ferdock Family Fund, the name has been changed to the Scar Physiology, Treatment, and Research Fund in the hope that more donors would help such a worthy cause. Medical research is expensive and time consuming and Dr. Eberwein has accomplished great things on a shoestring budget. Our hope is that with proper funding someday burn injuries will no longer mean a life of pain and suffering.
Thank you again for all your time. I cannot tell you how much this means to myself and to other burn survivors to find someone outside the burn community that cares enough to help. It has been nearly 6 years since Vinny’s accident and not a single day goes by that we don’t deal with the results of that day. More surgeries are planned in the near future and our care is still entrusted to this wonderful burn center.
Please join us for a night of sharing, laughter and fun on 4/4/12 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm at Boston’s Restaurant, 327 Star Rd., Allentown. There will be cupcakes, jewelry, FREE photobooth pictures, and a 7pm live auction. Our winner of the Makeover, Deb Allen, will be arriving for her “big reveal” at 6:30pm. We hope to see you there!