Sunday, July 14, 2013

Giving Back

On March 29 during the spring semester of my junior year in college I nearly burned to death.  My full-skirted dress blew into a gas stove and within seconds I was on fire.  One of the first things you learn in elementary school during Fire Prevention Week is to drop to the ground and roll yourself in a blanket..  But your natural instinct is to run and so, as the fire swirled up around my legs, I raced screaming into the next room where one of my sorority sisters was taking a pre-dinner nap.  Soon we were both screaming.  That might have been my last shout but for another girl who rushed into the room, knocked me down and rolled me in a bedspread.  I owe her my life.

Burned over 35% of my body, I spent three months in John Sealy Hospital in Galveston undergoing skin grafts and other burn treatments.  The worst was the daily visit to "the tank" for a whirlpool bath in Dreft detergent.  I don't know a burn survivor who doesn't shiver recalling the tank.

I was healthy and I had superb doctors.  I healed from the burns and went on about my life.  Yes, the scars are still there on my back and legs, but they don't show and even if they did, I'd be okay

One thing I've always wanted to do was to give back in some way by helping other burn survivors. And now I have my chance.  Saturday I went through training to be a peer supporter, part of SOAR, Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery.  I'm looking forward to connecting with other burn victims and giving them a listening ear and a path to hope.



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