On October 26, 1994, I chartered a helicopter to fly over a construction project, and near the end of the flight we became tangled in some newly strung power lines. The helicopter crashed and exploded while I was still belted inside. My body suffered 3rd degree burns to 40%, and sacrificed another 40% in donor skin to repair the burned areas with skin grafts. The doctors removed the skin from my scalp to replace my neck and left side of my jaw. Severe burns change your life forever in ways most people cannot imagine.
It is this very reason, that I am so passionate about my participation in the Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery (SOAR) volunteer program created by the Phoenix Society for burn survivors. There is no way to know the pain or trauma of the severe burn injury and the medical procedures that follow, unless you have lived through the experience. Further, I am so committed to the work of the Phoenix Society; I have been honored to serve as a National Board Member and Officer, as well as, a Keynote Speaker for the organization.
The Phoenix Society is the largest organization of its kind in the world, devoted to serving the burn community. You can learn more about the important work, including the World Burn Congress, BEST Program, Journey Back, Burn Prevention, Advocacy and Scholarship opportunities it supports at www.phoenix-society.org.
Please remember, if you or someone you know is ever severely burned, the Phoenix Society helps burn victims become survivors.
Mrs. International 2012