Survivor Stories

Survivor Stories

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Next Monday, March 2nd is National Read Across America Day. This holiday falls on the same day as Dr. Seuss’s birthday and encourages children and parents to celebrate the joys of reading. Grab a free Milo & Moxie book and start reading today!
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Thank you Thunderbird Charities for your generous support of our Helping Others, Promoting Empowerment (H.O.P.E) Services which begin the moment a patient enters the Arizona Burn Center. We greatly appreciate your partnership in helping us provide burn survivors and their families with emotional support, financial assistance, referral services, therapeutic camps and retreats and so much more on their journey towards thriving.

Thunderbird Charities, thank you for your commitment and support of burn survivors and their families! ... See MoreSee Less

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Shout out to Mesa Fire and Medical Department for their awesome Fire & Life Safety School Education Program! Dedicated Mesa firefighters spend time teaching students how to prevent injuries & death in the 8 highest risk areas. Show your local fire department some love today! ... See MoreSee Less

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Adopt-a-Family 2018

2019-01-24 16:07:49 az-burn

For many families, the first holiday season after a burn injury can be challenging. Through our Adopt-a-Family program with the support of our amazing sponsors, we are able to provide a bright moment during the holiday season for families. Below is a letter sent from one of the families adopted this past December highlighting what this program meant for her and her family.

I guess I want to explain a few things.  We are a family that was doing fine, great in fact.  We have teens and were looking to what the future could look like without children to care for, pay for, and drive places.  We were definitely happy.  But, my husband and I felt called to do more then just “be happy”.  We went through the process to become foster parents.  We thought it might be tough be we could help.

Fast forward we agreed to take two boys that had been in separate group homes for over two years.  They had never had a true family. They never knew what “normal” was like.  They had been in and out of foster care.  We wanted to show love.  Then… it turned out they had sisters.  The sisters were not in a good foster placement and their needs were not being met.  My husband and I were asked to consider taking them in too.  We had to make huge home modifications (add a bedroom) and add a pool fence. And it had to be done in a matter of days.  This was not financially an easy thing for us but we knew it had to be done.  When you know there is a need there isn’t a choice.

With all this we have learned significant things about behavioral health, trauma therapy, and something we never expected – burns.  I have never cared for a medically needy child let alone two.  We had no idea that the girls had burns on a significant amount of their bodies or that they would need so much reconstructive surgery and procedures.

The Arizona Burn Foundation stepped in and helped me so much.  I didn’t know that there was a Burn Clinic that specializes in treatment of burns.  I didn’t know how to process anything that had happened to the girls.  Lori at the Foundation spent hours helping me navigate where to go and how to get them help.  She offered so much supportive care you can’t imagine.  We are so grateful for her and the Foundation’s help.  The girls have now had surgery in California and are receiving laser therapy there too.  We will be back there many more times before the journey is over but both girls will have the opportunity someday to tell their story when THEY are ready instead of people knowing their story by just looking at their scars and missing hair patches.  They will not be burn victims or burn survivors but they will be in control of who they tell the world they are.  All of this has been in part possible because of the support from the Arizona Burn Foundation.

We accepted that Christmas would look different this year.  It would look different for our biological kids because our resources had to go many other places to help and create an environment that is safe for 4 new additional children.  It would look different for the four additional children we welcomed in our home because it is a home.  It is a home full of love and peace and safety.  We all learned so much about Christmas.

I learned what overwhelming generosity feels like.  I don’t think I can describe to you the tears I cried of surprise and gratefulness.

Your gift was so unexpected.  It was unbelievable.

You gave things that we needed.  You gave FUN surprises.  You gave fantastic products (like the face cream) that we as a family use daily.  You gave things that I would never give my self permission to buy that brought so much joy.  Thank you.

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Isabella's Story

2019-01-07 20:52:09 az-burn

Isabella McCune’s story is one of bravery and strength in the face of tragedy and setbacks. Her resiliency will inspire you. Hear her story here:

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Chris Allen

2017-09-06 21:51:00 az-burn

My name is Chris Allen and I have been a part of the Arizona Burn Foundation since 1990. I was intentionally burned at the age of 3 by a person who held me in a bath tub with scalding water. This caused 3rd degree burns to over 65% of my body. During the initial treatment, I was given an antibiotic to fight a deadly infection I had. Unfortunately the side affects to the medication caused severe to moderate bilateral hearing loss, which led me to a lifelong use of hearing aids.

Over the years the Arizona Burn Foundation has helped me in many ways and has always been available for support. I have been to their annual burn camp, Camp Courage, both as a camper and as a counselor. They helped me get through Dental Assisting school with the MacDonald Wood Scholarship. In March of 2016, I had a major near death experience and I ended up at a hospital in intensive care with a ventilator for 10 days. During my recovery, I lost my career, my apartment, my car and pretty much everything in between. To make matters worse, one of my hearing aids stopped working, meaning the other one was not far behind it. This caused worry due to the extreme out of pocket expense to get new hearing aids. The Arizona Burn Foundation once again supported my ongoing recovery and paid for my new hearing aids. Having new, working hearing aids improved my everyday life and my career as an Oral Surgeon Assistant tremendously. Properly working hearing aids help me function, stay alert and aware, and be more efficient in what I need to accomplish. The Arizona Burn Foundation has always been there for me and have always had an open door for support and proactive assistance – always willing to go above and beyond.

Without the Arizona Burn Foundation I honestly don’t know how I would make it through some the many challenges I have endured along the way.

-Chris Allen

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Holiday Festival of Trees- Graciela Nobles "My story of survival"

2017-01-11 23:49:13 az-burn

Graciela Nobles is a burn survivor who is thriving.  Here is the story of how Arizona Burn Foundation has impacted her life.

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Kevin Baggiore

2016-02-01 22:56:54 az-burn

Kevin and Cole picking up their Adopt-a-Family gifts.

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!”

Kevin and Laura at World Burn Congress

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

B2“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

Help us to help more survivors like Kevin. Please consider making a donation today. Donate here.


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