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Camp Timber-Lee in East Troy helping youth burn survivors: 'You have to live the life that you have'

Mia Fairconatue has attended the camp for the past 8 years. She was injured at a young age while trying to make hot chocolate for her mom.
Posted at 5:21 PM, Aug 11, 2022

EAST TROY, Wis. — For nearly 30 years, the Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin Charitable Foundation has hosted a summer camp for burn injured youth. Michael Wos is the executive director of the foundation.

"What started as a grassroots firefighter-run organization has just grown into a thriving non-profit serving as a champion for burn survivors, firefighters and safe communities all across the state," said Wos.

Camp Timber-Lee is located in East Troy and kids are bused in from all over Wisconsin. Mia Fairconatue has attended the camp for the past 8 years. She was injured at a young age while trying to make hot chocolate for her mom who was under the weather.

"I put it on for like four minutes and then when it was done, I tried pulling it out and the cup spilled, so it spilled on my chest, my lip, my nose," said Fairconatue.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports nearly 75% of all burns in children are preventable, with most burns occurring in the kitchen or bathroom.

"The number one cause of injury we see is from scalding or hot liquids whether it be, you know, pulling boiling water off the stove top or microwave, so prevention is important," said Wos.

Fairconatue has made many friends over the years and says those connections made a difference in her life.

"Everybody has their own story and that's how we connect. And coming here it's like you don't have to feel like an outsider; everybody makes you feel like family," said Fairconatue.

Jeffrey Jordan started attending the camp when he was just 6 years old and now he's a camp counselor. He says the camp helped him in many ways.

"What this camp has taught me was that you know I just have to be comfortable in my own skin. Live my life and not treat my life any different based on what's happened to me," said Jordan.

He travels all over the country speaking to individuals and organizations about what it means to be a burn survivor.

"You have to live the life that you have and you can either do something great with it or you can sit around and be sad," said Jordan.

He's been a part of the camp for 22 years and even his mom and sister decided to volunteer their time over the years.

"My mom who is a nurse decided to volunteer as one of the camp nurses, so she got to help out and support the camp. And my sister, who got to see me go every year, when she turned 18, she volunteered to be a counselor."

The sky truly is the limit at Camp Timber-Lee. As the kids soar to new heights, the message is clear.

"Who you are is more important than what happened to you around here," said Jordan.

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