June 22, 2023
From the Ashes: Jason Nelson’s Journey
*Disclaimer: The content you are about to see contains some graphic images.
Jason Nelson, shares his story of a life-changing accident with fire. On February 9, 2014, Jason was in a rental house he owned, replacing carpet and painting. He took a cigarette break in the garage, but when he lit the cigarette, there was a sudden explosion. Jason found himself engulfed in flames, resulting in burns to over 80% of his body, including severe third-degree burns. He recalls the moment he realized something was wrong, with his hair on fire and the skin on his hands scarred and expose. Despite the shock, he managed to run out of the house, and a neighbor who heard the explosion called 911 and provided support.
Jason was taken to the Arizona burn center at Valleywise, where he was put into an induced coma for six weeks to manage the initial shock. He spent nearly six months at the center undergoing dressing changes, surgeries, and various forms of rehabilitation. It took him four years to mentally prepare himself to look at photos of his injuries and fully comprehend what had happened.
During his recovery, Jason went through a period of emotional struggle, not wanting to be a burn survivor and feeling burdened by the pain and therapy. However, his wife, Tammy, encouraged him to persevere, reminding him of their family waiting for him to return. Eventually, Jason realized he had a purpose to help other burn survivors and became involved with the Arizona burn Foundation, where he currently serves as the board chair.
The Arizona burn Foundation provides support and many programs for burn survivors, including Camp Courage, a camp for children aged six to sixteen who have experienced burns. Camp Courage allows these children to feel normal, connect with others who have similar experiences, and enjoy various activities. Through his involvement with the foundation, Jason has witnessed the positive impact on burn survivors, helping them embrace their scars and develop friendships while overcoming their fears.
Despite the pain and challenges he faced, Jason wouldn’t change what happened to him if given the chance. He has found purpose in his journey and takes pride in the impact he has made by supporting others.