Family camp offered connections for Surrey burn survivor

Little Lionhearts brings together young children and their families for three-day program

A burn camp for young kids and their families helped a Surrey family connect with others who had been through a similar experience.

Spencer Oulton was 17 months old when an accident left him with second- and third-degree burns.

His family rushed him to the hospital and, after spending the night, Spencer returned home, but this was not the end of the hospital visits.

Spencer’s mom, Rachel, told the Now-Leader that for the next several weeks, they had to go to BC Children’s Hospital for burn baths.

This is where they, under sedation, remove the dressings on Spencer’s burns, wash the area and apply new dressings.

“It was it was a lot,” Rachel recalled. “Thankfully, we got through all of that before COVID lockdown.”

For the next year, which coincided with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Spencer had to wear compression vests, his parents would apply lotion on his shoulder twice daily, and ensure his face was shaded from the sun.

“It was very isolating, being at home trying to deal with that through through COVID,” Rachel said.

A social worker at the hospital connected the Oultons with the British Columbia Professional Fire Fighters Burn Fund. The charity supports burn survivors through their recovery and offers a variety of programs and retreats for survivors and their families, including the Little Lionhearts Family Camp.

The three-day camp aims to help survivors from infants to age six, along with members of their immediate family and caregivers, “understand and cope with physical and emotional challenges related to burn recovery,” reads a post on burnfund.org.

Rachel told the Now-Leader that she and her husband, Nick, were unsure of what to expect when their famly had a chance to attend the camp in 2023 when Spencer was 5.

Her eldest, Bennett, 8, was hesitant. “Our older son was kind of like, ‘I don’t know if I want to go, like it’s meant for babies and little kids,’ but he had a great time too,” Rachel said.

“It was just an amazing time to connect as a family, like our nuclear family, but then to connect with the other families that have gone through similar experiences,” Rachel said. “Being able to talk about it with other families and connect with them has been has been so great.”

The Little Lionhearts Family Camp and other programs run by the Burn Fund have been great source of help to Oultons.

Essential services and survivor programs, like the camp, are in part made possible by financial support from fundraising initiatives like Hometown Heroes Lottery, Jeff Sauvé, executive director of the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, stated in a media release.

“Every ticket purchased contributes directly to supporting funds for essential services at VGH and UBC Hospital, GF Strong Rehab Centre, and Vancouver Community Health Services, while also backing Burn Fund initiatives aiding burn and trauma survivors provincewide,” reads the release.

One of the 10 grand prize options for the 2024 Hometown Heroes Lottery is a South Surrey home, located at 16038 9A Avenue, worth more than $2.5 million.

Tickets are available online at www.heroeslottery.com, by phone at 604-648-4376 or 1-866-597-4376, or in person at any London Drugs location.



Anna Burns

About the Author: Anna Burns

I cover health care, non-profits and social issues-related topics for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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