Illinois Fire Safety Alliance gives holiday gifts to children with burn injuries at Loyola Medical Center

  • Holiday gifts delivered to the Loyola Medical Center Burn Unit

    Holiday gifts delivered to the Loyola Medical Center Burn Unit Courtesy of Riley Anderson

Updated 12/2/2020 7:43 PM

The Illinois Fire Safety Alliance and Loyola Medical Center in Maywood are continuing to expand their relationship by collaborating this holiday season and brining a bit of joy to children and teenagers that are currently being treated for burn injuries.

The Mount Prospect-based nonprofit IFSA had been working with fire departments across the state over the last month to wrap more than 1,500 gifts that will be distributed to Burn Units located in Illinois, including nearly 200 gifts to Loyola Medical Center. Departments received the toys, wrapping paper, scissors, and tape to allow for a gift-wrapping party at their stations. With the holidays now upon us, the wrapped gifts have been collected and are being provided to hospitals that specialize in treating burn-related injuries.


"As the holiday season approaches, we see an increase in residential fires because of holiday cooking, candles, loose decorations, and Christmas trees. There is nothing more heartbreaking than responding to a home fire and having to rescue family members with burn injuries. We know that treatments and the recovery process are very painful and difficult, and we wish everyone speedy and healthy recoveries," said Chief Keith Krestan of the Lisle-Woodridge Fire Protection District Fire Department, who is thankful for his firefighters that took the extra effort to provide holiday smiles to people in need.

"Each year, approximately 485,000 people receive some level of medical treatment for a burn injury," said Executive Director Philip Zaleski. He added, "Of those injuries, 40,000 of those cases result in hospitalization that can last anywhere from weeks to months depending on the severity of the injury."

"The burn survivor programming offered by the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance provides an opportunity for our patients to connect with other burn survivors, which is very beneficial during their recovery. From Camp 'I Am Me,' to Family Day programming, to now these holiday gifts, Loyola Burn Center appreciates the significant impact the IFSA makes on our burn survivors and their families," noted Kelly McElligott, Loyola Medical Center Burn Center Social Worker.

Each year, staff members from the Loyola Medical Center Burn Unit spend seven days at the IFSA's signature program, Camp "I Am Me" -- Illinois' camp for young burn survivors. Not only do these specialized personnel work in the camp's Health Center for the week, they are also in the cabins, eating meals, and actively supporting the nearly 70 campers during the dozens of activities that are available to participate in.

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"The Illinois Fire Safety Alliance's mission is not only to educate Illinois residents on fire safety and burn prevention, but also to support both children and adults that have been affected by burn injuries. We are so thankful for the time and effort given by the fire departments across the state as well as all of the support and cooperation from Loyola Medical Center. Hopefully we can bring some smiles to children while they are being treated for their injuries," added IFSA Program Coordinator Riley Anderson.

To learn more about Camp "I Am Me" and other burn survivor support programs, visit the IFSA website at

ABOUT THE ILLINOIS FIRE SAFETY ALLIANCE: Since 1982, the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance (IFSA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has been bringing together persons and groups with common interest in fire safety, burn prevention, and public education, and to promote programs and disseminate information related to fire safety and burn prevention. The IFSA also hosts a variety of burn survivor support programs including Camp "I Am Me," a unique week-long camp for children and teenagers who have experienced severe burn injuries. Additional information on the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance can be found at