Burn Community Blog

The Phoenix Society is a community of burn survivors, their loved ones, health professionals, and firefighters. We work together to ensure that no one feels alone as they get back to life after a burn injury. Follow our blog for stories and resources by the burn community, for the burn community.


This Is Me—And I Won’t Quit. Luis’ Story of Burn Recovery.

Aug 19, 2015

Luis Nevarez, a firefighter, went to work on a routine call about a downed power line; his experience that day turned out to be anything but routine.

News: 15,000 Youth Join Phoenix Society & Project Paradigm in Fight Against Home Fires

Aug 18, 2015

Grand Rapids, MI (August 18, 2015)-- Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors together with Project Paradigm, a private foundation, announced that 15,000 youth aged 7 to 18 have signed up for The Paradigm Challenge, a new competition that inspires youth to affect positive change in the world. The first annual Paradigm Challenge seeks original ideas to prevent injuries and fatalities from home fires—America’s #1 disaster threat. “The number of youth who have stepped up to accept our Challenge to help save lives truly is inspiring,” said Jeff Richardson, Project Paradigm’s Founder and CEO. “Normally, youth contests attract around 1,000 participants or less. Thanks in large part to the support of our partners like the Phoenix Society, these youth are part of an exciting movement to make a difference. We will continue to engage as many youth as possible by the May 1, 2016 entry deadline,” said Richardson.

“It’s Okay to Ask for Help.” A Burn Occupational Therapist’s Story

Aug 12, 2015

Listen to Rebekah Allely share her experience working with burn survivors as a doctor.

Peer Support Makes a Difference: One Couple’s Story of Burn Recovery

Aug 4, 2015

A burn injury can change the dynamic of a relationship. Hear Jeannine and Oscar’s story about working through burn recovery together.

John Morris - Traveling by Wheel

Aug 4, 2015

John Morris is a travel expert who also happens to be a burn survivor. After a serious car accident in 2012, John continues to endure therapy and rehab, but was quick to get back to living—and travelling. Putting together his expertise, passion for travel, and new experiences of being a triple amputee who utilizes a wheelchair, John created wheelchairtravel.org. Having flown nearly 200,000 miles in 2014, he is among the world's most traveled wheelchair users. An exciting new collaboration with the Phoenix Society lead John to visit Indianapolis, Indiana in advance of 2015 Phoenix World Burn Congress to rate and describe the city’s accessibility.

In This Together: A Firefighter’s Spouse’s Story

As the spouse of a burn injured firefighter, Jeannine Barrera shares the compelling experience of her husband’s burn recovery.

No One Should Face Burn Recovery Alone: Oscar’s Video Testimonial

Captain Oscar Barrera was a long-time firefighter; after struggling through burn recovery alone, he came to realize that he needed help.

Sharing Strength after Surviving a Tragedy: Danielle’s Story

Jun 29, 2015

After surviving a burn to her leg on the job as a firefighter, Danielle is pursuing training as a Phoenix SOAR peer supporter in order to help others.

The Power of Peer Support: A Firefighter’s Story

You come to know the value of peer support when you’re faced with a life changing injury. Peer support for burn survivors helps speed and strengthen recovery by offering hope at a challenging time, and the simple truth is that the sooner burn victims connect to resources and caring people, the sooner they can get back to living. Phoenix SOAR® (Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery®) connects burn survivors to a community of people who share their experience. Mitch Dryer, burn survivor, peer supporter, and retired firefighter, shares his story in a compelling video testimonial. Watch for more featured stories in the coming weeks, of those who's lives have been impacted by Phoenix SOAR!

New PSA With Burn-Injured Firefighters Describes What Peer Support Means to Them

Jun 17, 2015

The healing journey of a burn injured firefighter can have its unique challenges. We understand how the healing paths of the firefighter survivor and their family can be vastly different. The firefighter survivor often hopes to return to the profession where the burn injury occurred, while family members may struggle with the fear of loss. The physical recovery is challenging, but psychological recovery can be overwhelming. Watch personal testimonials from our new PSA with real burn-injured firefighters and others who describe what peer support means to them:

News: Phoenix Society Launches a National Phoenix SOAR Campaign for Firefighters

Press Release (June 17, 2015). Grand Rapids, MI The healing journey of a burn-injured firefighter can have its unique challenges – and the healing paths of the firefighter survivor and their family can be vastly different. A firefighter survivor often hopes to return to the profession where the burn injury occurred, while family members may struggle with the fear of loss. The physical recovery is challenging, but the psychological recovery can be overwhelming. A national outreach and education campaign was recently launched to more broadly publicize the peer support (Phoenix Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery, or Phoenix SOAR) and other resources that are available for those in the fire service who have been affected by a burn injury. This initiative furthers the work that Phoenix Society and project partners—the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Charitable Foundation, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), and the University of Kentucky—have accomplished in this area.

What the PEG Scholarship Means to Me

Jun 10, 2015

Sara Christensen is a two-time recipient of the Phoenix Education Grant (PEG) all while pursuing her college education at Miami University. She recently graduated and is now working at Kettering Hospital in the Adult Intensive Care Unit. Sara reached out to Phoenix Society to share her education journey and thank the donors who helped to make her education dreams possible.

Participate in a Research Study - Social Skills Training!

May 27, 2015

Your Experience Matters! Are you interested in participating in a Research Study about our online Social Skills Training module - "Beyond Surviving, Tools for Thriving After Burn Injury?" Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors would like to invite you to participate in an online research study for survivors of burn injury and their friends or family members. The primary goal of this study is to see the effects of a Social Skills Training program titled “Beyond Surviving … Tools for Thriving after a Burn Injury” in reducing social anxiety and improving community participation among burn survivors. Phoenix Society is collaborating with UT Southwestern and the North Texas Burn Rehabilitation Model System in conducting this research to assess the effectiveness of the online Social Skills Training. Find out more!

Phoenix Society Facts & Statistics

Read our updated 2015 Phoenix Society Facts & Statistics

Paul Machado - ‘Faces of Fire’ Burn-Injured Firefighter Story

May 15, 2015

Our friends at the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) through the Fire Sprinkler Initiative, has collaborated with Phoenix Society to produce PSA's to promote the use of fire sprinklers in one- and two-family homes. By sharing the burn survivor's voice with purpose, we hope to affect change and prevent future burn injuries and deaths. Paul Machado, firefighter, sustained numerous injuries and burns on the job while escaping a fast-moving and intense house fire. Another co-worker was also seriously injured in the incident. Paul states that home fire sprinklers would have made a difference in the outcome of this fire event.

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