Flight Log

Resources and Stories from Angel Flight West.

Shine’s First Camp Adventure: Flights for Burn Survivors


Like most toddlers, Shine was filled with curiosity, eager to discover the world, often reaching up high for things she wanted to see up close. In the blink of an eye, one-year-old Shine reached for a bowl of freshly made hot soup sitting on the kitchen counter, pouring the hot liquid onto her upper chest and right arm. “My husband Patrick rushed Shine into the bathroom, and I remember saying ‘cold water, cold water,’’ says Shine’s mom Jessica.

They quickly rushed their daughter to the local ER in Flagstaff, Ariz. where Jessica and Patrick learned they would need to dress Shine’s wound on their own before getting an appointment with the Maricopa Integrated Health System’s Arizona Burn Center in Phoenix. After a scary infection and a follow-up surgery to help replenish the skin on her open burn wounds, Shine transitioned to compression garments to accelerate the scar healing process. All the while, Jessica remembers the compassion of their medical team and how helpful resources like the Arizona Burn Foundation were to Shine’s recovery.

Fast forward nearly a decade, when the family, now living in Las Vegas, received a call from Sandy, a volunteer with the Arizona Burn Foundation. It was nearly time for camp season, and Sandy was calling to invite Shine to Camp Courage, a week for young burn survivors filled with archery, tie-dye, arts and crafts, and more. Without a second thought, and with her usual determined confidence, Shine said she wanted to go, eager for the experience and for her first flight with AFW.

Dr. Joseph Adashek was Shine’s first volunteer pilot, flying her from Las Vegas to her camp adventure in Prescott, Ariz. “Dr. Joey called and gave me his background and reason for flying with AFW,” recalls Jessica. “I felt so at ease knowing my daughter was going to be flying with him. When we met at the airport, Dr. Joey took a picture of all of us in front of the plane — a priceless memory of this big milestone.” For Shine’s journey home, AFW volunteer pilot Alan Underwood along with his son-in-law and mission assistant Nathan Hoogendoorn picked up the flight. “You can really feel the passion they have for what they’re doing,” says Jessica, laughing at the photos of Shine asleep in the back of the plane after her exciting — and exhausting — week away.

As for camp? Shine had a blast, and she can’t wait to attend next year. “It was a wonderful experience for our daughter,” says Jessica. “She’ll live with this happy memory forever. All the hardships and barriers that a family can endure – we grew from that, and it made us stronger.”

Each year, AFW flies hundreds of missions for burn survivors and children with life-threatening illnesses to attend specialty camps, programs, and conferences. Learn more about requesting a flight at angelflightwest.org/need-a-flight.

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