“The whole experience was super memorable! I have been bragging about it all week!” 

When was the last time you were asked, how are you doing?

It is such a simple question, but many times the power of being asked has the biggest impact. Last weekend our young adult burn survivors came together as a community to share their experiences of being burn survivors, while trying to navigate through life’s challenges. They discussed the difficulties of finding a job, starting college, and discovering life as a young adult. “Age is a big thing about this experience. I am talking to people that have to find a job and are going to school with all of these burn injuries. I feel like this is an awkward age to go through something like this” states Claire.

Last December Claire was burned on her face, neck, chest, arm and left side of her leg which covered 35% of her body. While on vacation in Canada for her step-brother’s wedding, her family decided to go ice skating in a near-by forest. Her father was tightening up her ice skates, while a friend lit a camp fire. Suddenly, an explosion occurred. The flames landed on Claire and three others. Claire was quickly rushed to a local hospital to be stabilized prior to being transferred to Valleywise Burn Center.

This was Claire’s first year participating in the Young Adult Retreat program hosted by ABF. COVID-19 has made it more challenging for Claire to meet other young burn survivors until now. Claire says, “The whole experience was inclusive and impactful. There weren’t any awkward moments, and the retreat was a lot of fun! Everyone was very open about their experiences and nobody held back, which made it more relatable.” The relationships that Claire has been able to build during Young Adult Retreat will help support her through her future surgeries and deal with life as an adult with facial scarring.

Claire states, “The whole experience was super memorable! I have been bragging about it all week!” ABF recognizes the importance of different age groups gathering together. Our Young Adult Retreat helps build self-esteem, life skills, and connections, while building healthy building blocks to be a successful adult.