Weill Cornell Medical Students Create "Camp Phoenix" to Bring Fun and Healing to Young Burn Center Alumni

First Event of the School Year on November 17

Nov 16, 2001


Camp Phoenix, a program run entirely by students at Weill Cornell Medical College, provides a free, safe, nurturing, fun-filled experience to former patients, ages 7-12, who have been treated at the Hearst Burn Center of NewYork-Presbyterian's Weill Cornell Medical Center.

This year, Camp Phoenix will hold its first event on Saturday, November 17, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Riverbank State Park on Riverside Drive at West 145th Street, and the media are cordially invited.

Paul Mullan, a second-year medical student who founded Camp Phoenix last year, says, "After a burn injury, kids often have physical limitations, suffer from stress, and feel diminished self-esteem. At our camp, we get them involved in activities like tag or capture-the-flag, arts and crafts or the theater, fishing, or learning how to play an instrument. It brings them out, and instead of feeling isolated and resentful, they become happier and more adjusted to their situation."

"At last June's overnight trip," he says, "many of the children arrived at camp wearing long-sleeved shirts because they were conscious of their scars. Before too long, they rolled up their sleeves and were ready for a friendly pillow fight and a game of teddy bear football."

All of Camp Phoenix's activities, which are provided at no cost to the camper, are funded through private donations. The Weill Cornell students formed their program in coordination with the New York Firefighter Burn Center Foundation and the medical staff of the Weill Cornell Burn Center, including Director Dr. Roger Yurt, physical therapist Hope Laznick, and recreational therapist Vivian Youngblood.

According to the director of the camp this year, student volunteer Minal Patel, "We believe the name of our camp is appropriate because the phoenix is a bird that has overcome adversity and prospered after rising out of the flames of hardship."

"Our inaugural event last May, at Riverbank State Park, attracted 20 excited kids and was an incredible success. The children and the volunteers had a lot of fun, and the kids were looking forward to coming back."