Your Dollars at Work: Jeremy’s Story

Every year, nearly a thousand people travel from all over the world for Phoenix World Burn Congress—and every year, thousands more can’t make the trip. They’re left wishing they could participate with no means to do so.

We’re starting to change that.

In 2016, the inaugural Phoenix World Burn Congress Live Streaming Event was held at Spectrum Health’s Paul and Lena Meijer Heart Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Survivors, families, healthcare workers, and others embraced the unexpected opportunity to participate in Phoenix WBC from hundreds of miles away — including Jeremy Graham.


Facilitators throw beach balls to participants at Phoenix World Burn Congress Live Streaming event.


Jeremy’s Story

In 2015, Jeremy had no idea the Phoenix Society existed. He was still struggling with the physical, mental, and emotional aftermath of his burn injury seven years before when he stumbled upon the Phoenix Society website for the first time.

He was stunned to learn about Phoenix WBC and excited to discover that the next conference would be held in Indianapolis, Indiana — hours away from his Michigan home. He had just enough time to make arrangements to attend.

With support from the George Pessotti Scholarship Fund, Jeremy and his wife, Becky, attended Phoenix WBC in October 2015. There, Jeremy finally met a community of people who knew. For the first time since his burn injury, he had the vital affirmation that he could survive the hardest days—and hope for better days ahead.

When Jeremy found out Phoenix WBC was scheduled for Rhode Island in 2016, he was crushed. He wanted that transformative experience again, but he knew the journey to Rhode Island would be impossible due to his physical limits.

Then Jeremy and Becky were invited to the inaugural Phoenix WBC Live Streaming Event, which was held just a short drive from their home.

In October 2016, the Grahams participated in their second Phoenix WBC, hundreds of miles from Rhode Island.

“I was there, in the room, sharing the experiences of my peers, getting hope and inspiration, seeing other people who’ve made it through and come out on the other side,” says Jeremy. “Being in a smaller group even made me comfortable enough to take the microphone and share my story. That experience was so empowering. I felt stronger, like I had more hope and courage.”

This year, Phoenix WBC Live Streaming will be available through New York Presbyterian Hospital and University of California, Irvine — but Jeremy sees endless opportunities for connection.

“The potential with live-streaming the event is limitless,” he says. “Through it, Phoenix Society can reach so many more people. It would be amazing to expand it to every SOAR hospital in the country.”

With our Live Streaming Events, Phoenix Society is breaking down barriers. With your support, everyone affected by burn injury could join the life-changing experience of Phoenix World Burn Congress. Jeremy will be the first to tell you: the potential is limitless and the impact is profound.


This article is an excerpt from the 2016 Annual Report. To read the full report, click here.

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