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 news on our work, stories of burn survivors, and resources for healing and hope. If you’re ready to share your story, be sure to join our online community for more conversation and connections.


The Burn Survivor Voice and the State of the Science Conference

Ten years ago in 2006 the American Burn Association (ABA) and the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) organized the first State of Science (SOS) meeting in Washington, DC. Representatives from the burn community—healthcare practitioners, fire service professionals, researchers, and burn survivors, among others—came together to set priorities for burn research and practice. Phoenix Society brought to the table a broad national perspective and the ability to identify survivor and family advocates who could share their personal experiences, as well as those of the survivors and family members they support through the Phoenix SOAR (Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery) program. In February 2016, the ABA and NIDILRR convened the second SOS Progress in Burn Research Acute and Rehabilitative Care meeting, read on to review the progress made in the last decade.

Pick Up Your Fork

" When I was 9 years old, I suffered burns over 100% of my body and was expected to die. Today, I share my story with more than 50,000 people each year in hopes that they may live a more radically inspired life. As a Phoenix Society Ambassador, I am honored to have this opportunity to serve as a guest blogger and share my story with you." John O'Leary, author of ON FIRE: The Seven Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Live, discusses the joy of coming come from the hospital five months after being burned, and the troubling realization that his journey had only just begun.

Tips to Be Sure Your Child Is Ready for Burn Camp

Burn camp can be the highlight of the year for many kids and teens after burn injury. It can be a life-changing opportunity to form friendships, find support, and have fun! So, how do you choose the best burn camp to fit your child? And how do you help prepare your child for camp? Find useful tips offered by for selecting a burn camp that best fits your child's needs...

Exhausted From Caring for a Burn-Injured Loved One?

Mar 29, 2016

Is caring for a burn-injured loved one leaving you running on empty? The responsibility of caring for someone that is newly discharged from the hospital and providing extensive care and support at home can be overwhelming and utterly exhausting. You matter. Read the 8 tips offered by Carly Bowers, wife and caregiver of a burn survivor, for finding balance and self-care—so you can best care for others.

8 Tips to Bounce Back From a Traumatic Emotional Experience

How do you bounce back after a traumatic experience? How does a burn victim become a survivor? Resiliency is about adapting and growing in response to stressful experiences. It’s about using tools and finding ways to build a new and stronger self. Read the 8 practices to help build personal resilience...

How Do I Handle Myself When Someone Stares (at My Burn Scars)?

It is a normal human reaction to look at something that is different, unusual, or curious. So how do we handle ourselves when someone stares at or makes comments about our burn scars? Read our tools and tips for responding to stares and discover other tips to increase your social confidence...

The Gift Match is In!

Feb 26, 2016

A powerful social media video challenge by our generous supporter, Bio Oil, and their ensuing gift motivated another first-time donor, Brian Stevens, to initiate further excitement and generous giving - Brian challenged the crowd at the Phoenix WBC 2015 banquet to participate in an exciting, 1:1 gift match - and make a difference in the lives of burn survivors everywhere. A true example of how "Nothing Heals People Like Other People," read how our attendees rose to the occasion and created an evening to remember!

What Can We Do In Our Relationship to Support Healing?

Burn injury to a spouse, significant other, or within a family can create strain on even the healthiest relationships. Without a doubt, the daily challenges of managing burn injuries impact the 'normal' household rhythms or 'normal' roles that we occupy. So what can we do in our relationships to best support healing? Read some helpful strategies and characteristics of a healing relationship offered by Megan Bronson, a board-certified psychiatric mental health clinical nurse specialist, consultant, and psychotherapist...

Be Liberated From Your Story & Inspire Others With Your Story

Feb 5, 2016

We invite you to watch John O'Leary's personal video that he sent our way to share with you in honor of National Burn Awarness Week (February 1-7, 2016). This remarkable video was taped by John in celebration of his 30-year "burn anniversary" and calls to mind the struggle that each burn survivor experiences at the beginning of their journey of recovery. The hard reality is—each burn survivor has their own painful beginning, and their own unique journey of reccovery—but it is not how it the journey has to end. John's acknowledges the painful beginnings, the struggle of the journey, and then offers each and every one of us to 'be liberated from your story, be inspired by your story, and finally—be bold enough to inspire others with that story" Watch John’s inspirational message as he revisits the home of his burn injury and encourages others to ‘Live a Radically Inspired Life’. (Please note some content may be upsetting for some viewers).

John O’Leary Celebrates the Blessings Born from the Tragedy of Fire

Jan 29, 2016

Phoenix Society is immensely excited to welcome John O'Leary, world-renowned motivational speaker and burn survivor, as our newest guest blogger. John writes from the heart—with a unique understanding of the reality of the daily struggle of living with burn injury, to rising above those struggles and offering others real strategies to live inspired lives. He was a keynote speaker at Phoenix World Burn Congress 2015 in Indianapolis, IN, and received an overwhelming response from the Phoenix WBC audience. This is John's first post to the Phoenix Society blog and his personal letter to all of you in honor of National Burn Awareness Week to "shine the light on the many gifts in your life today." We hope you enjoy and find inspiration...

Don’t Know How to React to Burn Survivors and Burn Scars?  Just Smile

We invite you to view the new public service announcement (PSA) for burn survivors and the general public created in collaboration with the Phoenix Society and the LIBRE: Life Impact Burn Recovery Evaluation team at Boston University Department of Social Health. This PSA was created as part of an ongoing project to help improve the life-long challenges of burn recovery. This video does a great job demonstrating the social challenges encountered by burn survivors and offers a simple tip to the public and burn survivors for increasing social awareness and creating a more accepting environment.

PEG Helps 16 Students Continue Their Education in 2015-16

Nov 23, 2015

Sixteen burn survivors are furthering their education in 2015-16 with the financial assistance of a Phoenix Education Grant (PEG). The scholarship program was establish 14 years ago when Barbara Kammerer Quayle, a school teacher at the time of her burn injury, had a vision to give survivors the confidence and hope that further education would bring. That year she provided the initial funding for the first national survivor scholarship. Since then, countless donations, including a major commitment by AlloSource, have funded recipients. In 2013, the company, one of the nation's largest nonprofit providers of skin, bone, and soft tissue allografts, pledged a $250,000 donation, which will be made over 10 years, to the PEG program, enabling many more burn survivors to achieve their educational dreams.

Reducing Your Stress Over the Holidays

There is a holiday song that says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”. Yet, while this may be true for some people, for others, including family and those recovering from a burn injury, the additional pressures of the holiday season can make this time of the year anything but wonder-full. Here are just a few simple de-stressing strategies that could help you and your family find the spirit of celebration and fill it full of the wonder that we hope for each holiday season...

Ways to Stay Connected After Phoenix World Burn Congress

Nov 9, 2015

Phoenix World Burn Congress offers a unique and powerful opportunity for people to personally come together to experience support, increase their knowledge of burn recovery, and share inspiring stories. For many burn survivors, this is their first opportunity to connect with others on the journey of burn recovery. It can be a profound and life-changing experience. So naturally, it can be difficult to transition back to “normal” life after the conference. Some may even experience a “let down” after the conference. Read more about ways to stay connected...

Education Grant Helps Burn Survivor Pursue Career in Nursing

Oct 30, 2015

Betty Wong, a 2015 Phoenix Education Award recipient (PEG), explains that the compassionate treatment she received during the treatment of her burn injury has helped inspire her calling in life, to become a nurse. With that goal—and the help of the recent award of the PEG scholarship, she is pursuing a nursing degree. Read more of Betty’s story…

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