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Firefighters to celebrate Canada Day with barbeque at the Fort

Langley firefighters credited with helping raise $1 million for burn survivors
Steve McLay is the co-director of the Township of Langley Firefighters Charitable Society. (Langley Advance Times files)

A commitment of $1 million has been made to BC Children’s Hospital Foundation from the BC Professional Fire Fighters Burn Fund to support specialized care for young patients with burn injuries in the province.

These funds were raised by B.C.’s more than 4,000 professional firefighters, including those working in Langley.

The BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund was founded in 1978, and to date, Langley City Local 3253 has donated more than $53,000. The Township of Langley Local 4550 has donated more than $73,000.

The burn fund effort is near and dear to Steve McLay, co-director of the Township of Langley Firefighters Charitable Society. In the past couple of years, his team has organized multiple events in the community to raise funds for the B.C-based charity.

Though a “very small” part of the province-wide campaign, McLay’s team contributes at least twice a year towards the cause.

“It feels amazing to be able to help the hospital foundation… they are doing a great job. It is important that they have everything they need to help the kids in need.”

RELATED: Langley firefighters serve up hotdogs

Throughout the year the local firefighters charity group host a variety of fundraisers to contribute to the Burn Fund.

Coming Friday, on Canada Day – the society is organizing a barbecue evening in Fort Langley to raise money for the burn fund initiative. The event will have hotdogs, burgers, drinks, and more. The fundraiser will be led by one of the firefighters’ kids, who McLay said is “very” passionate about the cause.

Taking place inside the walla of the Fort, the four-hour event will start at 11 a.m.

In the past, McLay said about 1,000 people have attended the annual event, which is returning after a two-year COVID hiatus.

Donations and proceeds from the food sales will go to the Burn Fun initiative.

Another local group that donates yearly to the burn fund is the Langley City firefighters.

Dan Gray, president of IAFF Local 3253, shared that the initiative is close to his heart as it helps burn survivors through camps and other programs.

“It means a lot to all of us.”

He added that he is proud of the BC Professional Fire Fighters for creating such a “spectacular” organization.

“The million dollar mark is special. We are proud to be able to contribute to that,” said Gray.

Each year, the hospital sees more than 900 kids for new burn injuries and follow-up treatment.

“For patients enduring the physical and emotional trauma of burn injuries, funding will enhance their treatment, healing, and recovery through specialized physical and emotional care,” said Dr. Sally Hynes, burn director at BC Children’s Hospital.

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According to Hynes, children with burn injuries require specialized care and a highly trained team of experts to not only treat the physical injuries but also to care for the emotional well-being of both the patient and their family.

She noted that thanks to these funds, the hospital is planning to build a multi-disciplinary team designed to care for the holistic well-being of burn patients and their families.

“This ($1 million) is a significant moment for the incredible teams at BC Children’s Hospital, as well as for B.C.’s professional firefighters who champion the burn fund’s mission of supporting burn survivors through every step of their healing journey,” said Gord Ditchburn, president of the BC Professional Fire Fighter’s Association.

In addition to offering care support, a portion of the $1 million will help establish an education endowment, providing educational opportunities for health professionals working with patients and families.

The firefighters created the burn fund to finance urgent equipment needs for burn survivors at B.C.’s trauma hospitals. Today the burn fund’s support has expanded to offer empowering programs for burn survivors of all ages.

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Tanmay Ahluwalia

About the Author: Tanmay Ahluwalia

Tanmay Ahluwalia is a journalist with a digital mindset and a proud alumnus of the University of Delhi.
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