Lives You Touched: Mark’s Story
Mark and Steve Joyner have shared in each other’s lives since birth. In 2016, the twins shared in each other’s healing too. Six years after Steve’s burn injury, Mark joined him at Phoenix World Burn Congress for the first time. (Pictured above: Steve Joyner and his wife, Catherine, at Phoenix World Burn Congress 2016.)
Even before Steve’s injury, Mark faced the impact of fire every day. In a career spanning three decades, he served as a medic, firefighter, and arson investigator. He knew burns.
When Steve was injured in a campfire explosion at a Christmas tree lot, Mark was ready to say goodbye. As he drove to the hospital, his phone rang with updates and reports on Steve’s injuries. It was bad news, and Mark’s experience told him exactly how bad.
But against all odds, Steve survived. With Mark’s help, he walked out of the hospital eight months ahead of schedule. Steve found a path to transformational healing through the Phoenix Society, but Mark needed support too.
“I lost part of me that day,” said Mark. “It took me a few months to realize he may pull through. It’s still very difficult.”
After his burn injury, Steve found opportunities and connection. He had drawn strength from his peers. He had been lifted and transformed by the burn community at Phoenix World Burn Congress and beyond.
And he wanted Mark to have that too.
When Steve planned to attend his third Phoenix World Burn Congress in 2016, he invited Mark to come along. Having seen the energy his brother drew from the community, Mark agreed.
In October, they traveled together to Providence, Rhode Island. As Steve had hoped, the community that transformed him opened its arms to his brother.
“I was anxious and uncertain what a family member could expect,” said Mark. “But I realized very quickly that this is an integral part of not only Steve’s recovery, but my own.”
He found families who understood his pain, first responders who understood his work, and vital resources that helped him heal.
Immersed in the burn community, Mark says, “Phoenix Society gives family members life-saving information.”
Like Mark, many families don’t realize the trauma of a burn injury reaches beyond the survivor. After a person is injured, their loved ones need to heal too — and like Mark, many families don’t know about the life-saving resources that are waiting for them.
We are there for many families healing from a burn injury, but many more are recovering alone. With your support, we will ensure that everyone who loves a burn survivor has the information they need.
“Information is power,” Mark says. “This is something I really believe in.”
In addition to extensive programming at Phoenix World Burn Congress, families can find and offer support through the Phoenix SOAR (Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery) Program, participate in the weekly Peer Support Chat, and discover stories and resources in Burn Support Magazine or on the Phoenix Society’s website.
This article is an excerpt from the 2016 Annual Report. To view the full report, click here.