Burn survivor Kevin Baggiore stopped by the Arizona Burn Foundation to share his story with the Board of Directors. Kevin and his wife Laura were sponsored to go to the Phoenix Society’s World Burn Congress this past October. The Baggiore family also participated in our Adopt-a-Family program. Below is his story.

“My name is Kevin Baggiore. On May 1, 2015, I was burned over 50% of my body when a fuel tank I was handling exploded. The Avondale Fire Department arrived a few minutes afterward, and I was airlifted to Maricopa Integrated Health Center, where the Arizona Burn Center is located. I was there for about six weeks, with the first three being in a medically induced coma. After I woke up, I was transferred to Health South Valley of the Sun for rehabilitation. I was there for three weeks. At the time, I thought being in the hospital would be the toughest part. I found out soon after I was discharged that I was wrong. At first, being at home was a huge challenge. I have some serious physical limitations that kept me from doing what I wanted to do, or so I thought. Thankfully, I have a great wife and family as support. That helped a lot, but even they couldn’t really understand what I was going through. That’s when the Arizona Burn Foundation stepped in. The Foundation called and offered to help us with our recovery. They were even so gracious and kind as to send us to the World Burn Congress in Indianapolis, Indiana! There, I was able to meet many burn survivors who had been through similar things to what I have. My wife also was able to meet other caregivers who have helped her to keep going. The Foundation also was generous and sponsored our family for Christmas, providing my children with probably the best Christmas they’ve ever had! Thanks to the Foundation, we have discovered that even tragic and difficult events can be made easier with a little bit of love!”

This is what Kevin and his wife Laura had to say after attending Phoenix Society’s World Burn Congress.

“WBC was life changing for me. What WBC did for me was connect me with people who understand. From my experience there, I learned that I have much to share with the burn community and I can help in ways that my husband cannot. Care givers can help educate medical staff and be there as volunteers in burn centers to help the patients and their loved ones. WBC was emotionally overwhelming. There is really nothing like being around people who just know. You do not have to even talk- just sitting next to someone with the same look in their eye- you know they are feeling exactly what you are, and that support is unmatched and not available outside of the burn community. WBC provides support to care givers like me, as well as the burn patient.

WBC for me was educational, and I intend to share that education with as many people as I can! I learned of many ways that I can volunteer and tell my story. At WBC I learned that my story is just as iatrical to the burn community as is my husband’s story. My experience at WBC was life changing. I am a burn survivor! I feel strongly that I can say that now. The other wives and care givers that I met at WBC helped me find my strength and focus. Surviving a burn, for me, used to just be about waiting for the next surgery, asking for more medical supplies for home dressings, and suffering through the wound care and side effects of the narcotics. At WBC I learned that surviving after a burn means transforming your life- just as the burned body is transformed, so too can the heart, mind, and soul- and the transformation is not just for the one who was injured, the transformation is for the care giver and anyone who comes in contact with their story.” – Laura Baggiore

“World Burn Congress is an amazing thing! I was a little anxious to go, simply because it has only been six months since my injury. I was amazed by the support the burn community provided me. At home, when I go out, I sometimes don’t feel “normal.” I feel like people are judging me. At WBC, that was a non-issue. I felt so included by so many people I didn’t even know! There were many people who found out that I was a first timer, and came and gave me a hug. One of my favorite parts was the Walk of Remembrance. This was the official kick-off to the WBC. We all walked about a half mile from the hotel to the Capitol building. As we started, we were led by two fire fighters playing bagpipes. We also had all signed a banner that was at the front of the parade. As we walked, the fire fighters all lined up along the route, along with their fire trucks. It was a very emotional walk. At the Capitol, we were addressed by several people, including the Indianapolis fire chief, as well as others from the burn community. The other part I really enjoyed was the support group. It was great to discuss with others, and to draw from their strength. I was amazed at the strength of the survivors in attendance. I am so grateful to the Arizona Burn Foundation for sending us there. I really learned a lot, and am ready to share with others.” – Kevin Baggiore

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