Wednesday, March 27
“When you’re dealing with a one-year-old with a 60 percent burn, that child’s chance of survival and recovery will be greatly improved if cared for by a team like ours that has faced those types of challenges many times.”
Richard Cartie, M.D., Burn Care Intensivist and Medical Director of Pediatric Critical Care
Tucked into an unassuming office park across from Doctors Hospital is a comfortable home-away-from-home for family members to stay. Named the Chavis House after Jeffrey Vaden Chavis, a South Carolina firefighter who died in the line of duty, the guesthouse hosts families of burn patients for free.
Without the Chavis House, it’s highly unlikely that Katie Cook’s Minnesota parents could’ve been at her bedside during her seven months in the burn center.
“Having my mom and dad there was just everything. Brought me comfort. Kind of brought me back,” she says. “The fact that four years later I’m pregnant is a miracle in and of itself.”
Katie Cook, the 2018 Burn Foundation of America Champion Chair and former JMS Burn Center patient, explains how the Chavis House and Southeastern Firefighters Burn Foundation began , “Firefighters were transporting patients to the burn center and seeing the severity of the injuries as they were rescuing people. As they were walking through the waiting room back to the ambulance, they would find these families sleeping on the waiting room chairs or sleeping in their cars. It just broke their hearts and they wanted to do something about it.”
Dr. Still always said that he thought that a family’s love was a powerful medicine and that the patients would do better with their families close by. Back in 1988, Dr. Still partnered with these firefighters and founded the Southeastern Firefighters Burn Foundation, now called Burn Foundation of America, to help burn patients and their families with non-medical necessities, so the families could be right with their loved ones through the entire recovery.
“A burn is usually the result in an unexpected injury, a traumatic injury,” states Cook, “I think all of that leads to the frame of mind where the family is unwilling to go home and leave their loved one.”
The Chavis House assists with the basic needs of the patient’s families, which allows them to focus on their injured loved ones. They have 17 semi-private rooms, plus an overflow room. The house can sleep up to 40 people per night. If the house is full, they place families in local hotels at no charge to the family. Whether it’s 2 P.M. or 2 A.M., staff is on hand to help and area churches deliver free meals to the guests each day.
“The biggest part of my job is helping to make the environment as normal as possible in the midst of being in a weird room—exposed to all kinds of machines and sounds—and lots of people coming in and out.”Erin Carrick, Certified Child Life Specialisti
Over the past decade, the Chavis House welcomed over 1,000 guests every year. In 2017, 1,435 family members and loved ones received 6,817 nights of free lodging in the Chavous House. In 2018 the number increased to 1,535 and 4,755 overnights.
After hospitalization, patients need further care to continue their recovery and transition to independent living. Burn survivors who need emotional and financial assistance can receive support from the Chavis House. Last year hundreds of burn survivors received assistance with medication, transportation, anti-scarring garments, and peer support.
The Burn Foundation of America is a financial supporter of the Chavis House. Local and surrounding area firefighters provide 25% of the operating budget per year with their fundraising efforts like boot drives and auctions. Other events include the Fire and Ice Gala and the Storybook Brunch.
Eric and Sandi Clark, franchise owners of the eight local Jersey Mike’s, are donating every single dollar that comes in Wednesday, March 27, to the Chavis House. Take your office to Jersey Mike’s Wednesday, enjoy a great lunch and the feeling of supporting such a worthy cause.
Clark’s first Jersey Mike’s location opened in 2011. Prior to owning Jersey Mike’s Subs stores Eric sponsored Burn Foundation events, no doubt influenced by his sister Jamie, who was a nurse at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center.
Eric was aware of the mission and services that the Burn Foundation provides to burn patients and families.
Eric and his wife also help provide meals to the Chavis House families as members of Grace Baptist Church in Evans. “Being affiliated with the Burn Foundation has really opened my eyes to what’s right here in our backyard. I’m amazed at how many people the Foundation touches,”
Jersey Mike’s area locations are open all day Wednesday until 9 P.M.
466 Flowing Wells Rd Ste 2, Augusta, GA 30907
4103 Madeline Dr Ste 108, Augusta, GA 30909
2823 Washington Rd, Augusta, GA 30909
403 Fury’S Ferry Rd., Suite, Martinez, GA 30907
4010 Gateway Blvd., Ste 4, Grovetown, GA 30813
1069 Edgefield Rd, North Augusta, SC 29860
1069 Edgefield Rd.North Augusta, SC 29860
232 Eastgate Drive Aiken, SC 29803