Paper sales this week will raise money to support Shriners Hospitals for Children. Sisters from Rutledge are on the cover as Patient Ambassadors.
This week you'll see people at intersections and store fronts selling Shriners Papers. It's the annual fundraiser for Shriners Hospitals for Children.
The cover girls for the paper sold in East Tennessee live in Grainger County.
They survived a horrible fire 12 years ago then recovered with the help of the Shriners. Emily Stroud and Jim Martin
Lighting struck their home in Rutledge in March of 2002. The family inside was asleep.
A neighbor interviewed at the time said, "She handed me her little baby and its hair was all singed to its head and its skin was peeling oh my God."
Brenda Cameron is their aunt. She remembers getting a phone call.
"They said Darrell's house was on fire and that the babies were burned and that all of them were burned real bad," she said.
Their mother died from her injuries in the fire. Their father went with them to Shriners Hospital for Children in Cincinnati.
He said at the time, "When I've seen the Shriners in a parade I thought it was funny men in little go karts. I never knew they did all this. I mean they are remarkable here."
Sammie Lynn was 9 months old. She was burned over 23% of her body.
Alex Lynn was two. She was burned over 47% of her body.
"Fire can do this to people. It was terrible. It was really terrible," Brenda said.
Sammie Lynn is now 12 years old. "I look at the pictures and I look at where I am now and I've came through a lot," she said.
Alex is 14. They are both students at Rutledge Middle School. They take their school work with them when they have to go back to Cincinnati for treatment.
Sammie said, "I've had to have surgery on my fingers because they would get tight and I couldn't move them and I've had to have laser surgeries on my face and skin grafts."
"I had to have a lot of pressure garments and therapy," Alex said. "They had to stretch my hands out and cut me on my hands so they can grow and on my legs."
Their burned skin doesn't grow requiring surgeries as they've gotten older.
Alex said, "I think the surgeries will get less and less as I grow up."
They've grown up in Rutledge with their aunt and uncle, Brenda and Marty Cameron.
Brenda said, "Gina had asked me about two weeks before the fire if anything ever happened to her if I would take her babies and raise them. And I feel like I have done that for her."
She and her husband have cared for them, and so have the Shriners.
"If it had not been for the Shriners I don't know what we would have done. Because of course we didn't have money to take them up there and get all these surgeries done," she said. "They've treated these kids like they were theirs."
Alex said, "They just took really good care of me. That's all I know."
Sammie said, "I'm just thankful that they were there for us and that they've helped us."
They survived a horrible fire and have endured surgeries. But the girls have no complaints about their time at Shriners Hospital.
"It's hopeful and happy and everybody's smiling there. they make all the kids of there feel really comfortable," Sammie said.
Their story is in the Shriners paper and their pictures are on the cover.
"I think they've done real good. I think that if they hadn't had the care hat they wouldn't be where they're at today," Brenda said.
Alex and Sammie are Patient Ambassadors. You may see them selling the papers this week, sharing their story, and supporting the mission of the Shriners.
Alex said, "They sell the newspapers and all the money goes toward the Shriners to help the kids."
To help kids like Alex and Sammie.
Rutledge Fire 2002 WBIR-TV
Shriners 2002 WBIR-TV
Christmas 2002 WBIR-TV