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August 29, 1997     Cape Gazette
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August 29, 1997

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40 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, August 28 - September 4, 1997 Locklear boys find encouragement a: British burrL can00p By Anne Graham How many 17-year-olds do you know who are honest enough to tell a prospective employer at the beach that they need a week off in August? Jamie and Jeremy Locklear of Georgetown did exactly that, and they returned from a London sub- urb last week after touring Britain's first burn camp for chil- dren and young adults. The story gets better, but it began with a tragedy. In July 1992, the twin brothers were 12. Like most 12-year-olds, they wanted a fort, so they decid- ed to dig one in their backyard. They used a picket fence as the roof. Unfortunately, they installed a fireplace with a chimney. On a rainy day, they decided to start a fire. The wood did not ignite, so they threw what they thought was a cold match on the wood. They then threw some gasoline on the wood. The fort exploded in flames. Jamie was the first one out and screamed to a friend to help his brother. He ran to the house and told his uncle and sister to dial "911" and jumped in the shower. The boys' sister Julie called their mother at work and told her to come home immediately. She got home in time to lead the ambulances to Peninsula Regional Medical Center (PRMC) in Salis- bury, Md. The boys were so severely burned that they were given morphine during the race to the hospital. Jamie and Jeremy had to spend the night at PRMC due to bad weather, but were heli- coptered the next day to the Fran- cis Scott Key Burn Center which is affiliated with Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. The boys spent seven and a half weeks at Francis Scott Key, then began five-day a week therapy sessions at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital for the next six months. A year of five-day a week therapy at Milford Hospital fol- lowed. During the school year, their teachers from Sussex Central Middle School came to the house to tutor Jamie and Jeremy. When they were ready to return to school, the burn center sent a team to the school where all the students assembled in the auditori- um. The team explained the burns, what the students should expect and answered all their questions. They also asked the students to start a "buddy system" and make sure that the boys wore their spe- cial elastic garments known as jobes. The jobes which they had to wear on their hands, arms and legs were uncomfortable, butvery important for the healing process. Both Jamie and Jeremy agreed that their fellow students were very understanding and helpful when they returned to school. They were extremely fortunate. Many young burn survivors are ostracized by other kids. That is one of the many good reasons why burn camps have been started all over the United States. Burn sur- vivors need to regain their self- confidence as well as their physi- cal abilities and emotional bal- ance. These camps provide a level playing field where the children are encouraged to excel. The camp where Jamie and Jeremy go is in Harrisonburg, Va. Mid-Atlantic Burn Camp is spon- sored by the Baltimore Firefight- ers and there is no charge to the children's families. Co-directors Linda French and Tonas Kalil are volunteers, as are all staff mem- bers. Most are therapists, nurses and firefighters. They all take a week of their own summer vaca- tion time to work at the camp. The camp lasts for one week and has traditional activities including horseback riding, swimming, arts and crafts, rock climbing and raft- ing. The burn survivors are ages six to 18. Britain's first burn camp is modeled after Harrisonburg's. That is why the Locklear boys were invited to tour the new facil- ity outside of London and meet with Camp New Horizons director Pat Wade. While they were there, they stayed with a therapist Kevin Lidlow, who helped create the new camp and who works with the British Olympic team. The twins said they liked the food in Sussex County better than the food in Sussex, England, but they agreed that "burn survivors are the same all over the world, and we made some good friends in London." They plan to keep track of how the British camp is progressing and help in any way they can. "We were really lucky," Jamie said. "When we were burned and came very close to dying, our family and friends rallied around us and did everything they could to help." Jeremy added, "Some kids aren't that lucky, so we want to stay involved with helping burn survivors as much as we can." In the meantime, they are both off to finish their summer jobs at the Little Greek Boys Restaurant in Rehoboth Beach. This fall they will be seniors at Sussex Tech, where they are studying electrical trades. Jamie plays on the soccer team, and Jeremy is on the wrestling team. Most would agree that this is quite a remarkable sequence of events, and the story is far from over. FREE ANONYMOUS HIV TESTS Jeremy Locklear, left, and his brother Jamie pose for a picture with a British Olympic Athlete during a social event they attended while at a British burn camp in London, England. The teens, who were severely burned when they were 12, recently returned from a week touring the new British facility. Briefly Parenting workshop series scheduled AmeriHealth First, in partner- ship with CHILD, Inc., has announced a series of Kent Coun- ty Parents First workshops to begin Friday, Oct. 3 from l0 a.m. to noon. They will continue for six con- secutive weeks at Carroll's Plaza conference room D, 1114 S. DuPont Highway, Dover. Parents First provides parents with useful information about family communication, raising a well-behaved child, building self- esteem, and coping with stress. There will also be food, games and prizes. For more information, call 800- !916-7700.