This issue of Burn Support Magazine is packed with stories about people taking initiative and owning their stories, but it’s also about exploring the journey itself—how do we get to a place where that is even possible?
As I write this piece, I am nearing my 40th burnaversary, and find myself in a reflective state of mind. In my own journey, the first real turning point came when I embraced self-awareness.
After my accident, I couldn’t see a path to regaining the freedom and adventurous spirit I’d lost. I had no stamina. I had limited use of my hands and injuries to my feet that made it difficult to walk. I was nestled into the couch, certain my friends wouldn’t want to hang out with me, too self-conscious of my chin strap and missing fingers to imagine a casual outing anyway.
Then, one day, my brothers took me sailing. Against my will, despite my mother’s concerns for safety, they grabbed me and got me out on the water. As the wind filled the sails and I took the helm, I began a slow shift toward gratitude.
I was alive, and I could still do this thing I loved.
After that day on the water, I began to own my story. I bought a rowing scull to get back in shape and reconnect with my vibrant, water-loving self. As I began to recognize my self-sabotaging thoughts and push back, my physical and mental outlook improved.
40 years later, I’m using those same skills to emerge from a global pandemic healthier than I’ve been for 20 years. I even began rowing again! When everything slowed down, I recognized the limiting beliefs that had shaped my life for so long. I remembered I can decide to prioritize my well-being, and I have all the tools I need to do it.
At the end of the day, sometimes we need a catalyst to interrupt our cycles of self-sabotage and take control of our stories. As Phoenix Society navigated the unprecedented reality of a global pandemic, we were driven by a clear purpose: expanding our reach, breaking down barriers, creating opportunities for human connection—because nothing heals people like other people. With a thriving virtual community and resources on-demand, we are ensuring every burn survivor has that vital catalyst toward hope and healing.
Community is greater than isolation.
Amy Acton, RN, BSN