Often when I talk to other burn survivors they say that even with everything they went through with their burn injury, they wouldn’t change what had happened. A common reason is because of the people they meet, particularly other burn survivors.
I experienced this feeling during the last Canadian Burn Survivors Community conference this summer in Calgary.
I started this project last year when I was 24 and before contacting the Canadian Burn Survivors Community I had never met another burn survivor.
How was this possible to go my entire life without meeting another burn survivor?
Well, usually when you’re burned you’re treated at the closest burn unit, which is what happened with me – except it wasn’t in Canada. I was born in the Philippines where I had my accident and didn’t move to Canada until I was four. Because of this, I flew under the burn community’s radar that entire time growing up.
Although I had met some burn survivors through my local burn survivors support group the months leading up to the conference, you could only imagine how meeting so many burn survivors at the national conference must have felt like.
The conference had over 100 attendees, including burn survivors, their loved ones, health care professionals and volunteers (I apologize if I missed anyone). Along with doing my interviews and photography for my project I was able to meet a lot of amazing people, attend different panels and workshops and so much more. It was truly a great experience where I felt like I really got to connect with the burn community and was a great catalyst for the start of my project.
Part of the closing ceremony for the 2012 conference
Since there was so much that happened in such a short amount of time I will be doing future blog posts related to the conference shortly.