In June of 2012, I went home for a week to relax before I headed back to Davis for summer school. The first thing I saw on my dresser was a vanilla envelope addressed to me which had arrived for me some time in May. Inside the package was a letter from the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation, encouraging me to apply for the Ellwood & Louise Reed Bridge to Life Scholarship. I was touched that the foundation was still reaching out to me even though I had not been as involved in the events hosted by it as I used to be.
Happiness and nostalgia surrounded me as I remembered my time at Champ Camp, the Young Adult Summit, and the Fishing Trip. Champ Camp was the most memorable place for me because it was where I learned what it meant to be happy. Before attending the camp, I felt really broken inside. I had a hard time adjusting to the new body full of disfigurements. After realizing that I would never be normal like my peers, I just wanted to be invisible so people did not have to stare at my scars. When I attended Champ Camp, I saw that many of the campers were not wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants to hide their scars like I did. Instead, they accepted their injuries and not let the scars define who they were. Motivated, I decided to put away my cloak of invisibility and started to wear to clothing that signify that I was no longer ashamed of my burns. The activities at camp were also very therapeutic to my healing process. In addition, the camp counselors were also crucial to my metamorphosis. With their love, support, and hugs I was able to grow stronger and to believe in myself.
I am very grateful to know that there are kind people like Mr. Reed, Mrs. Reed, and the Reed family who are passionate about helping people. I would like to acknowledge and thank them for their contribution to the Ellwood and Louise Reed Bridge-to-Life Scholarship to help burn survivors pursue higher education. I agree with their belief that “education can lift anyone to new heights of awareness of success” for I am traveling down that road right now as I attend college. Receiving the scholarship has been such a huge blessing to my life. Instead of worrying about taking out loans and getting a job, I can just focus on being a student. Besides lightening the load off my financial burden, the scholarship allows me to have more time to do more. I am able to take more challenging courses which will bring me closer to my goal of attending nursing school. Also, I am able to participate in a mission team to plan events to benefit the local communities at large.
Overall, I would to express my gratitude to the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation for everything it has done for me and staying in touch with me. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to apply for the scholarship. I cannot wait until the day that I get to come back to Champ Camp as a counselor. But for now, I will continue to work hard in school because I know that there are amazing people who want me to achieve my best.