Camp brings summer joy to young burn survivors

CBS19 News at 10 p.m. - June 6, 2017

SCOTTSVILLE, TEXAS - This summer, countless children will head to camp and leave the worries of the world behind. Among them is a group of 70 young burn survivors who are gathered just outside Marshall this week.

"I like coming back every year," said Kyler, who's back for his third summer at camp.

The children are different agees and from different places, but thet all have one thing in common.

"They built this camp for people that have gotten burned and survived," said Kyler. "That's why it's called Camp I'm Still Me."

Dr. Kevin Sittig is chief medical officer at University Health Hospital in Shreveport, where he also serves as medical director of the burn center. Sittig founded Camp I'm Still Me 26 years ago.

"I'm truly blessed to be in a position to be rewarded with basically hugs and smiles and thank yous from all my children," said Sittig.

His children. Many of them are Sittig's patients, but campers come from across Louisiana and East Texas. All attend for free.

"It's expensive to house that many children, that many counselors to make sure they're adequitely supervised, and then we spoil them rotten," said Sittig.

The greatest amount of the camp's funding comes from Brother's Keepers Motorcycle Club, who works all year to raise it. All of its members are paid, volunteer or retired firefighters.

"I can give back to my communtiy and sympathize and empathize with the injuries these children have had," said James Stark, president of the club's Tyler chapter.

On Tuesday, dozens of bikers and several fire trucks arrived at Scottsville Camp and Conference Center, the site of Camp I'm Still Me. They brought a check for $103,500 with them -- enough money to cover the cost of next year's camp.

"You just don't know how much this means to all of us that work so hard to provide this for the kids," said Sittig.

"For us to see the joy and excitement in their faces makes this trip and all the work we do all year long more than worth it," said Stark.

Bikers Against Child Abuse also brought every child their own bicycle to take home.

The Brother's Keepers' largest fundraiser is its yearly East Texas Burn Run. The 2017 event is scheduled for Saturday, October 7 in Downtown Kilgore. Click here for more information.

© 2017 KYTX-TV


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