Meet Michelle S.

“It was the Fourth of July in 2019, and my friends and family were enjoying the fireworks when someone at the neighboring property set off fireworks that went awry. 100 feet away from me, a high-velocity aerial rocket discharged horizontally and misfired.

The firework hit my left inner thigh and erupted, burning my legs in various places and lighting my shorts on fire. I was thrown backward and slammed suddenly to the ground. After the accident, I was airlifted to a burn center in Buffalo, where I underwent surgery. I received burn and wound treatment there for several weeks.

Following my injury, I was diagnosed with PTSD and post-concussive syndrome. I completed physical therapy and vestibular therapy for many months. I also started seeing a PTSD counselor I continue to see even now.

Surviving a burn injury is possible. This was a life altering experience for me: I left the prior Michelle on that concrete where I was injured. There are many effects from this injury outside of the burns themselves.

I struggle with crowds and loud noises, and the days surrounding the Fourth of July are extremely difficult for me. It’s in those moments that I need to be surrounded by people I feel safe with.

My social circle has become smaller because I’ve learned it’s okay to say no, establish boundaries, and live my best life. As for my scars, they are most severe on my left inner thigh and calves. I used to hide them, but now I’m able to wear shorts or a bathing suit.

I know that I’m a burn survivor and warrior and that we all should be proud of what we have survived.”

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Meet Samuel M.

September 1, 2009 started out just like any other day for Samuel, but it didn’t end like one.  Samuel was hired to help a neighbor move.  While handling a seemingly useless box of what looked like books and hay from

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