On March 19, 2011, Max was burned in an accidental fire from gas-igniting while doing yard work.
Max sustained third-degree burns on 25% of his body and was taken by helicopter to Vanderbilt’s Regional Burn Unit in Nashville where he spent three weeks recovering. He had two skin graph surgeries and later spent a week in Skyline Hospital undergoing rehab. His wife was by his side the entire time.
“Recovering from a burn injury is a long process. Fortunately for me I had a great support system. The staff in Vanderbilt’s Burn Unit is amazing,” Omar said. “Aside from taking good care of me they were such a personable group and their TLC went a long way to relieve the emotional issues involved with my injury.”
Omar became a counselor at Camp Hope, a camp sponsored by the Burn Unit for kids ages 6 to 16 that have been a burn patient. In 2017, Vanderbilt formed a chapter of the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors where Omar is a Peer Support Volunteer and routinely visits with other burn survivors during their recovery.
“Being a Burn Survivor is an important part of who I am at this point in my life,” he said. “I have so much respect for the people I have met through this experience, from my stay in the Burn Unit nine years ago, to my time there now as a volunteer and my time as a counselor at Camp Hope. I feel blessed that my traumatic accident led to so many good experiences in the end.”