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Wonder Duck Stocking Stuffers

A former Threads of Hope honoree offers stocking stuffers with heart.


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Photo by Wonder Pal Inc.

Twelve years ago this month, Diablo magazine recognized Walnut Creek’s Francesca Tenconi with a Threads of Hope Award for her efforts in support of children with serious skin ailments.

Tenconi, who nearly died from a skin disease called pemphigus foliaceus at age 11, created the Children’s Skin Disease Foundation for her 16th birthday. Among the foundation’s many charitable endeavors is Camp Wonder, an annual summer program for children with chronic skin diseases, which is held every June in Livermore. “We’ll have our 18th camp in 2018,” says Tenconi, now 33. “Thousands of kids from all over the country have come to Camp Wonder. It has been a wonderful experience for the campers and our staff every summer.”

Earlier this year, the Children’s Skin Disease Foundation started a new program called Wonder Wish—a one-time gift that grants  current and former campers their wishes.

Francesca Tenconi in 2005. Photo by Sandra Hoover and Saul Bromberger

“There is such a financial burden for families that have a child with skin disease,” says Tenconi. “Wonder Wish will help by giving them a trip to see a family member in a different state or a plane ticket to visit a medical specialist in a different area. We’ll be giving computers to home-school kids as a way to keep in touch with fellow campers and the occasional trip to Disneyland to the family that cannot afford it.”

To raise revenue for the program, the foundation sells Wonder Duck, a large plush toy in the shape of Camp Wonder’s mascot.

“One year at camp, a small boy said, ‘I wish I was a duck so no one could see my skin,’ ” says Tenconi. “There was so much in that comment that addressed the spirit of the camp and the foundation. We don’t see the disease; we see the character of each child.”

A Wonder Duck costs $25. You can buy one at Ace Hardware (2044 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Walnut Creek) and at wonderduckpal.com. For more information about the Children’s Skin Disease Foundation, visit csdf.org.

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