Kennedy Crenshaw, SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)– The 11th annual Burn Run kicked off this weekend at the East Syracuse Fire Department. Over 500 people came out to run a 5k, 10k or both. By registering for the race, runners raised money for the Burn Foundation of Central New York.
Each year the Burn Foundation puts on events to raise money and help complete their mission to aid those who have been ravaged by fires in their homes, businesses and to their bodies. James Ennis, Chairman of the Burn Foundation, said the goals of the foundation are important because burn survivors experience life in a way most people cannot imagine. “Burns are some of the most horrific injuries the human body can endure, so all of our survivors are heroes for what they go through. Anything that we can do to make their lives easier, that’s the mission of the Burn Foundation of Central New York”, he said.
The money raised by the foundation helps in unexpected and unique ways. Each year the Burn Foundation hosts a summer burn camp experience so that children who have severe burns can experience life like other children. Ennis explained that children with burns do not always get the same treatment in public as those without. “we provide a summer burn camp experience for our burn survivors so they can go and be like your kids and my kids without the finger pointing or the stares they tend to get in the general public”, he said. At the camp the kids have the opportunity to interact with other adolescents who have similar injuries and gain emotional and physical support. The foundation also provides education opportunities for the caretakers of the survivors and cover some medical expenses by buying goods and services that are not covered by insurance.
The Burn Run started with the East Syracuse Fire Department in 2006 as a way for firefighters to stay in shape. Over the years the funds raised by 5k and 10k were donated to burn survivors treated at local hospitals. By 2011, The Burn Foundation of Central New York was created and partnered with the East Syracuse Fire Department to raise awareness and make sure all proceeds aided those who needed it.
While the Burn Foundation is a worthy cause and many people participate in the Burn Run to raise awareness and money for burn survivors, people also gather to show their support for the Central New York community and their families.
Firefighters come from all over Central New York, up to three hours away, to show their support for fellow firefighters. Retired Liverpool Firefighter Mike Klemenz said the Burn Run is a way to bring the firefighting community together. “It brings the fire service together, there’s a lot of camaraderie in the fire service. Folks are here running in full turn out gear just to make it more of a challenge”, he said.
Not only are firefighters committed to the cause, but so are their families. Cathy Klemenz, Mike Klemenz’s wife and a 5k Burn Runner, said she came out to support her daughter who is running 5ks and 10ks to prepare for a half marathon. To her and her family it is more than a form of exercise, it is a way to connect with her family as well as the firefighting community with their preferred organization. “We do it as a family event and we especially love the Burn Run because my husband is a fireman”, she said.
Throughout the rest of the year there will be opportunities for Central New Yorkers to get involved and help the Burn Foundation support survivors. Visit burnfoundationofcny.org for more information about their upcoming events.