Over the past year, we’ve been bombarded with uncertainty and fear of an unknown future. Many of us have been separated from our routines, our jobs, and our communities. We’ve heard a call for equality and justice, and weathered an election unlike any we’ve seen before. As a nation, as a world, we have been increasingly challenged and divided. In fact, I was astounded to read in a recent report that 40% of us are currently managing a mental health issue.
Throughout this time, I’ve found myself reflecting on the burn community and the tools I gained in my recovery from a burn.
This community has supported so many through crisis. Year after year, we’ve set aside our differences and focused on what connects us: the shared experience of a burn injury, a common need for connection and information, and our collective hope for a brighter future.
Now more than ever we need to lean on those principles—and each other.
Like many of you, the current environment has driven Phoenix Society toward a new way of doing things. In October, we hosted our first-ever virtual Phoenix World Burn Congress. Though we missed being together in person, the healing magic of Phoenix WBC became accessible to so many more people who were recovering alone. We have also shifted our model of training for Phoenix SOAR to a virtual delivery, allowing us to provide training in real time.
Over the past several months, I’ve watched many other organizations join Phoenix Society in offering new ways to connect—virtual support groups, social gatherings, and even camps. Nothing takes the place of in-person connection, but I consider this an enormous step forward for the burn community.
I have also witnessed a willingness of other organizations to share, allowing the survivor to choose from a greater variety of information and support. We are breaking down barriers that keep people isolated, opening the door for thousands more to discover they are not alone.
This issue of Burn Support Magazine is packed with resources for every stage of life after a burn. There are countless tools and opportunities for support available throughout the burn community, but so many still don’t know how to get what they need.
People are alone. People are struggling, and they don’t know this incredible, supportive community is out there. People like Bill Alexander, who you’ll read about in this issue. Before Bill discovered this community of transformational healing, he spent almost 60 years feeling isolated and ashamed.
You can change that. For others like Bill, don’t let this community be the best kept secret. Share the love and support, because this community is needed more than any other time in our history.
Every one of us—survivors, loved ones, allied professionals—has an important role to play. By building bridges and using our influence, we can connect the vast resources with those who desperately need support.
When we all work together, we can achieve something greater than any of us can accomplish alone. With each person who adds their voice to this movement, our impact ripples further.
As we look ahead to 2021, let’s continue to break down barriers and spread the word with a strong, united voice.
A movement is greater than one person.
Are you in?
Amy Acton, RN, BSN
P.S. Did you miss this summer's digital issue of Burn Support Magazine? Find it here.