It was much more than a day at the pumpkin patch Saturday. The Burn Foundation of Central New York hosted its fall get-together for young survivors of major burns. Our Sarah Blazonis has more on how important this event is.
ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but Soniece Crudup might need more than that to explain what these faces mean to her.
"It was really important knowing that I could go away for a little bit and have people that aren't with me at home but, you know, out of town or somewhere else are just my best friends, still," she said.
Soniece and her friends who gathered at Tim's Pumpkin Patch are burn survivors. They met at Burn Camp events like those now run by the Burn Foundation of Central New York, including this weekend's Halloween sleepover.
"It's fun and I feel welcome and I've got a lot of friends here...It feels like I'm a regular person," said burn survivor Latrell Stepney, 12.
Foundation board members say this sense of normalcy can be rare in a burn victims' life.
"They have lots of surgeries. They have to go to the hospitals over and over and over because scar tissue does not expand," said foundation board member Chris Xaver.
Survivors say being around people who know what they've been through is an important part of recovery. It's helped some communicate a powerful message.
"That we belong, too, and that anything is possible," said survivor Shaheen Hall, 23.
As for Soniece, she's now a burn camp counselor, a role she finds bittersweet.
"It's a good thing that new kids come and they get to meet kids that are just like them, but at the same time it's like, another one has to go through it, another has to face it," she said.
But thanks to events like this, they don't have to face it alone.
For more information on the foundation, visit burnfoundationofcny.org.