This summer, ABF was offered the opportunity to include some of our burn survivors in a weekend retreat through Angel Faces. Angel Faces is a non-profit, created with the goal of transforming the lives of females with permanent scarring due to burn injuries or other traumatic events. The retreat was offered to our young women to help increase self-confidence and self-image while embracing their trauma. It also allowed young women from Arizona the opportunity to meet individuals from other places, broadening their circle of support.

ABF provided financial support for the women to get to the retreat, which was in Southern California, in a beautiful private residence. The group was met by licensed therapists who lead sessions on boundaries, how to handle staring, and positive self-image met the group of women. They also had access to a pool and various yoga sessions to help unwind.

One of the participants sent by ABF, Drea, said that the intimate setting and fact that everyone there had similar scarring made the weekend more comfortable and provided space for necessary healing. Drea shared that she thought she had worked out a lot of her feeling surrounding her injury but realized that she had not been dealing with her emotions, just stuffing them down in order to take care of her daughter’s needs, who was injured with her mom. Drea “adopted” some of the other participants over the weekend and they called themselves her “surrogate daughters”. Through their connection, Drea was able to face some of those mom guilt feelings she had been shoving down inside her. Drea was comforted, reassured, and given advice for the future. Drea said she walked away from the weekend feeling whole, more so than any other event she has attended.

Another ABF participant, Yeezel, said that the retreat was a “definite must for young girls who need to network with young survivors”. One of the biggest components of healing is support from others who have similar experiences. ABF is happy to collaborate with other organizations to provide these life-changing services to our burn survivors.