Interview with Team Burney

Written by Martha Boks on March 30, 2021

Phoenix Society launched our first virtual 5k in March to support our programs and it has been SOAR-ing ever since! One Phoenix SOAR team in particular, ‘Team Burney’ at Vanderbilt Regional Burn Center in Nashville, TN, is SOAR-ing to new heights. They have recruited over 80 team members who have raised over $5,500 in a matter of a few short weeks. Our own Martha Boks sat down with ‘Captains’ Megan Bergfeld and Annie Mitchell to learn more about their team name and motivation.

Interview with Coach Megan Bergfeld, LCSW, ACM-SW

Vanderbilt Regional Burn Center
Burn Clinic Social Worker
Phoenix SOAR Lead Coordinator

What was your draw for registering and putting a team together for the ‘Putting the MOVE in MOVEment Phoenix Society 5k?

Vanderbilt launched its Phoenix SOAR program in 2017. We love being in partnership with Phoenix Society and continue to increase our participation each year. With COVID, we had to find unique ways to keep our patients and staff engaged, connected, and active.

One of our peer supporter volunteers had previously told us how excited she was to complete her first 6k following her burn injury. Megan participated in virtual 5ks during 2020 as a way to stay positive and manage stress. This seemed like a great opportunity for engagement with patients, peer supporters, and staff.

Megan reached out to Phoenix Society in January 2021 to ask if they had ever considered hosting a virtual 5k fundraiser. Megan got connected with Martha, and the idea took root!

We have had an incredible response! Over 80 team members have registered for our team and raised over $5,500! When we meet one goal, we set another, because we know we can keep going! Our next goal is 90 teammates and $6,000.

Your team name has a special story - can you tell me about it?

When we were considering team names, Mike (our inpatient wound care specialist), suggested “Team Burney” in memory of our dear friend and Burn Unit colleague, Tammy Burney, who passed away earlier this year from stomach cancer. Tammy was a light to everyone she met – pure sunshine.

Tammy was a care partner on the unit and had interactions with numerous patients on a daily basis. Her positivity and encouragement lifted the spirits of everyone she met. She continued to visit the unit while undergoing her cancer treatments, stopping by to offer support and love. Not a day goes by that we don’t think about her.

What has been the best part of the experience so far?

The support we’ve received has been overwhelming! Our team is made up of SOAR peer support volunteers, Burn Unit staff, administration, and other colleagues from all over the hospital, as well as multiple family members and friends. We are thrilled to support the Phoenix Society and burn survivors in this way.

We have a fundraising thermometer on the unit to keep staff updated on our progress. Everyday Megan updates the board with new members, posts pictures of everyone completing their runs, and sets new goals for Team Burney to achieve. The enthusiasm everyone has shown for this has been so inspiring!

It has also been fun to see how creative people are getting with their MOVEment! One of our team members is Dawn Dickerson, a SOAR peer support volunteer. Dawn had Xenograft placement using pig skin in May of 2015 for a burn injury to her legs from a boat fire. Dawn now says that pigs saved her life. She started collecting pig-related items and received a pet potbelly pig from her nephew and niece as a birthday present last year. “Dixie” is a very special member of Dawn’s family now and has been her walking buddy for this event.

What would you like to share with other Burn Centers?

Team Burney is ready for a competition! We want to see as many burn centers as possible create a team and support the Phoenix Society by putting the MOVE in MOVEment this spring!

Want to join the fun? There's still time to join our virtual 5k! We also encourage you to join our 5k Facebook Group - Post pictures share your progress and connect with other participants. Thanks again for helping up put the move in movement this spring!