What does your Burnaversary mean to You?

Written on August 06, 2020

Inspirational Stories
Self-Care / Self-Compassion
Survivor Stories

We asked the community, and their traditions (or lack thereof!) were as unique as their stories. There are as many ways to recognize the anniversary of a burn as there are burn survivors. 

Whatever you do, surround yourself with loved ones, practice self-care, connect with peer support, and remember: you survived. 

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Regina McCoy Landry:

“My burnaversary is the day my entire world changed. [My husband] lost his life in that tragedy. I had a 10% chance of survival. We lost both of our fur babies and everything we owned. ... I now volunteer in the burn unit that saved my life, provide peer support for others, and lead a burn survivor support group. My burnaversary is always a reminder of what used to be, but it has also become the inspiration of what I am today and why I dedicated my future to helping others along the way. Simply put... it is my purpose.”

Nasia Xou:

“With my burnaverasy coming up in 2 weeks I am thinking of ways to bring awareness on road safety. I try to do something every year that might make a difference... even if it affects one person, it will be one less potential victim of road accident.”

Allison Embree:

“Mine reminds me that I may be done healing, but I still have work to do because I can help shine a light for other survivors who feel like they're alone and lost and need some idea of what life will be like 19 years post-burn. (Which, by the way, is so good and worth every minute of pain!)”

I try to do something every year that might make a difference.

Nasia Xou


Kelsay Elizabeth Parrott:

“My burn anniversary is a day of gratitude. … Gratitude for those who have had a hand in my recovery and growth. Gratitude for everything that has made me who I am.”

Melyndia Hoerl Davis:

"Every year, I visit the town where my accident occurred to thank the first responders. … I always see the police sergeant who saved my life. ... I also visit the fire station, ambulance station, and police station. I take each place a large bag of lifesavers. I do this because I wanted to look forward to the date, not dread it.”

Just Another Day

Howard Savlick:

“I've always treated that day like any other day...? Glad to be alive. Enjoying my family and friends....every day is a blessing. No remorse...”

Scott A. Krohn:

“I remember the date, but I don't give it a lot of thought, same for my actual birthday. But it's an important date, separating the old life from the new. I made a choice that day to save myself and I've always considered it my second birthday.”

Jimmy Stewart:

“I really don’t think about the anniversary that much. ... I am daily reminded by the loss of abilities and thankfully little pain now. I was 77% burn but 100% blessed by family, friends, church, doctors, nurses and the prayers of so many. The meaningfulness of so many reaching out and loving on me and my family has been nothing short of inspiring.”

I made a choice that day to save myself.

Scott A. Krohn

Making New Memories

Joyce Timmer:

“Two years after my accident I got married on my burnaversary. It took the negative power of the day away and changed it to a day to celebrate.”

Heather Clark Harbin:

“My kids and I try to do something every year to make a memory. ... It doesn’t have to be great or grand, just a moment that we share with each other that says we are capturing life and appreciating what we have. Whether is a backyard party with family and friends, hiking a local trail to the top of a mountain, or planning a day trip, we aim to step out of our comfort zone and do something that we wouldn’t normally. … Specifically, to not be afraid to put ourselves out there and live every minute of this life to the fullest because we know how quick it can all be taken away.”


Christina Pearman:

“My burnaversary is a day for me to look back and see how far I've come. I never thought I would be where I am today, have the friends I have, work in the place that I am. And as badly as the burns hurt, however long recovery was, etc, I can't say I regret anything that led me to where I am.”

Tiana Joy:

“My burnaversary is a day of reflection and reminds me of how far I’ve come and how brave I am to just live an everyday life.”

It's a day I was given the insight and desire to do better with my life.

Rachael Martin Snook


Alexi Pyles:

“My burnaversary is a spectacular day to celebrate life overcoming losing two parents and being a young child survivor. I'm a survivor of 25 years and I can't help but smile and keep looking forward to the amazing opportunities that lie ahead. It's a day where I think a lot about what could have happened if I wasn't a survivor, but then realize I wouldn't be where I am now. I usually don't publicize or make it a big deal, but to me it's my special second ‘birthday.’”

Rachael Martin Snook:

“When I left the hospital, I had on paper scrubs that the hospital had given me. Today, I wake up every morning and put on real scrubs to walk into my office at the home health care company I work for. Today, I'm helping others, just like I needed help. Every year on my anniversary or phoenix day, as we call it, I celebrate with my family, my grandchildren and the many friends I have made on my journey. I don't look at it as a sad day, to me it's a day I was given the insight and desire to do better with my life.”

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