Sun Advocate, community team up for burn center quilts
whole family's existence in the blink of an eye, bringing a long and painful recovery mission to the forefront of their lives. In the Beehive State, residents are fortunate to have access to one of the top burn units in the United States, however.
The burn center at the University of Utah is the only such facility in the Inter-mountain West, meaning the center serves the largest geographical area in the country. This large coverage area has prompted a massive amount of need as more than 350 severe burn patients come through the center each year. To assist a unit which has helped Carbon County residents many times in the past, the Sun Advocate has partnered with many community volunteers and sponsors to provide the University of Utah with 125 custom quilts.
Several other groups in Price are also making quilts, hoping to have hundreds of the items ready for the state fire convention which will roll into Price on June 9. Many women's groups from the LDS Church along with the wives of the fire department auxiliary are on the project once again this year putting forth long hours of work for the center and the victims of severe burns.
"It's is amazing to see what these burn victims go through each and every day," said Rita Dunn, quilting chairperson for the auxiliary, recounting her visits to the U of U Burn Center. "The pain endured can be heart-wrenching to see."
Because wounds associated with burns need to be taken care of on a daily basis, dressing and blankets are changed every day to insure that the wounds remain clean, helping to stem the problems burn victims experience with spreading infection.
This constant re-dressing of wounds creates a constant need at the center, which is why the local community has focused it's efforts on the creation of quilts. Additionally, each of the more than 350 annual severe burn victims are sent home with a quilt of their own.
"While this is a huge undertaking, the quilts mean so much to the burn victims," said the auxiliary chair. "It reminds them that there are people out there thinking about them."
According to Dunn, the most difficult part of visiting the unit was seeing the amount of suffering which is undertaken by young children, a population group that is definitely over-represented in the burn center.
According to the Center for Disease Control, accidental injuries are the leading cause of death among children age 14 and younger. And as accidental injuries go, burn and fires are the fifth most common cause of accidental death in children, accounting for an estimated 4,000 child deaths each year in the U.S. alone.
"It was less than a split second," stated Nicole Kelsch on the university's burn center website. "It was that fast, and our whole lives changed."
Kelsch is referring to the moment when her husband turned to throw something away, and their 14-month-old son, Logan, pulled on a cord connected to a deep fryer, splattering hot oil on his tiny body.
Because of that split second injury, over 15 percent of Logan's body was burned, meaning painful skin grafts and a lengthy hospital stay. And while Logan did completely recover, complications from severe burns can often lead to secondary infections, serious illness and, in some cases, death.
"The center provides us with such a great opportunity to provide a service to those in great need," said auxiliary president Diane Carlson in an earlier interview with the Sun Advocate. "Each case and each person at the burn center is unique."
In just the last two weeks, several anonymous individual and group donor along with Beehive Homes have come forward to help the Sun Advocate purchase the materials needed to keep area volunteers busy making these quilts.
The Price LDS 4th and 7th Ward each donated a unique full size custom quilt to help the paper raise money and even though the project has been a complete success thus far, more funds and more material will be needed to reach the paper's goal. Additionally, each quilt can take weeks to make, meaning that volunteer labor is also needed.
"It's wonderful to sew the last thread on a quilt," said Pat Scherschel, a member of the Castle Country Quilters, a group who has been quilting in the area for 15 years. "Lots of love goes into each and every quilt we make."
For more information or to become involved with the quilt project please contact the Sun Advocate (637-0732) by asking for Advertising Director Jenni Fasselin.