Firefighters for Healing to bring holiday gifts to burn patients

Last year Firefighters for Healing brought fire trucks loaded with gifts for HCMC burn patients.

Firefighters For Healing, a nonprofit foundation founded by firemen who tragically experienced firsthand what burn victims endure, will once again spread holiday cheer to patients and families at Hennepin County Medical Center’s (HCMC) Burn Center. Former Minnesota Vikings football player and national recording artist Esera Tuaolo will join the firefighters to help distribute gifts and sing for patients and staff.

“Our mission is to have a direct impact on the lives of children and other burn survivors by providing support and assistance in ways insurance companies and caretakers and family members are unable to,” explains Firefighters for Healing founder and former HCMC patient Jake Laferriere. “We work with local burn units such as HCMC to provide the resources burn survivors and their families need as they begin the long journey of healing.”

Who: Firefighters for Healing (FFH) founder Jake Laferriere and Minneapolis Fire Fighters

What: Firefighter’s For Healing will be spreading holiday cheer as they bring gifts to patients in Hennepin County Medical Center’s (HCMC) Burn Center.

When: Thursday, December 10 at 10:30 AM. Minneapolis Fire trucks will be arriving at HCMC around 10:30 AM at the 717 S. Sixth St. entrance.

Where: Burn Center at Hennepin County Medical Center – enter at 717 S. Sixth St.

Firefighters for Healing is a non-profit foundation founded by a former firefighter, which provides financial and emotional support to children whom are survivors of severe burns. Through the contributions of generous donors, FFH subsidizes a variety of resources and information for burn survivors and their families, including: corrective surgeries; replacement of essential living items lost in fires; enrollment in supportive community youth programs; and financial assistance to local hospital burn units. To learn more about Firefighters for Healing, visit, or

The Hennepin County Medical Center Burn Center provides intensive, acute, and rehabilitative care to children and adults from the Twin Cities and surrounding states who have sustained burn injuries and other complex wounds, including frostbite, necrotizing soft tissue infections, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, pressure wounds, and inhalation injuries. For more information, go to

U of M wrestlers visit 8 y.o. wrestler grappling with burns

Tyler Schultz’ wrestling teammates in South Dakota are pulling for his speedy recovery – but a little extra “muscle” can’t hurt!

On Monday, Jumeetingne 15, four members of the University of Minnesota’s Golden Gopher Wrestling Team stopped by to meet Tyler and offer encouragement as he receives treatment for 3rd degree burns in Hennepin County Medical Center’s (HCMC) Burn Center.

Sam Brancale, Josh Shupe, Zane Zeman and Nate Thomas brought Tyler a poster signed by the entire team and visited with the young wrestler and his parents. The event was covered by WCCO 4 News sports reporter Dave McCoy and aired Tuesday, June 16.

Tyler and Gopher Group
Sam Brancale, Josh Shupe, Zane Zeman, Tyler Schultz, Nate Thomas
Angie Whitley and Tyler
Angie Whitley and Tyler

“He’s such a strong kid and he’s made remarkable progress,” explains Angie Whitley, RN, one of the many nurses Tyler has won over during his 45-day stay at HCMC. “Having these wrestlers take time out of their busy schedules to stop by and visit Tyler is so very much appreciated – and I think they enjoyed it, too! Encouragement and hope is a vital part of the healing process for patients recovering from burns.”

In a few weeks, Tyler (who wrestles at 50 pounds) heads back to his hometown near Aberdeen, SD soon where he’ll continue therapy on an outpatient basis.

Eden Prairie’s Sam Brancale (junior) wrestles at 125 and 133 lbs. Josh Shupe (senior) from Marshfield, WI, wrestles at 141 lbs. Nate Thomas (sophomore) is from Mantorville, MN and wrestles at 133 lbs. Zane Zeman (junior) is from Avon, Ohio and wrestles at 157 lbs.
(Left to right) Nate Thomas (sophomore) is from Mantorville, MN and wrestles at 133 lbs. Josh Shupe (senior) from Marshfield, WI, wrestles at 141 lbs. Eden Prairie’s Sam Brancale (junior) wrestles at 125 and 133 lbs. Zane Zeman (junior) is from Avon, Ohio and wrestles at 157 lbs.