“With the support from the Burn Institute and the love of my family I learned how to smile again.”
Meet Alex. Husband, father of three and 20-year Navy veteran who is the sole provider for his family. In 2016, while driving to work in the early morning hours, an erratic driver slammed into Alex’s car sending him and the vehicle tumbling off the freeway. The car, with Alex still in it, burst into flames. Alex did nothing wrong. His injuries were no fault of his own, yet he sustained 3rd degree burns on 35% of his body and spent months at the UC San Diego Regional Burn Center while his family remained bedside offering encouragement and compassion. The Burn Institute helped his family with immediate essentials including cafeteria vouchers, parking passes and gas cards to alleviate some of the financial burdens they were experiencing.
After prolonged treatment, Alex was released from the hospital but with such extensive trauma, his whole world had changed. Not only could he no longer work due to his injuries, but his physical appearance had drastically changed with significant scarring to his upper body, arms and face. Even more devastating was his emotional state; feeling isolated, depressed, angry, and as if he would never be the man he once was.
Not long after leaving the hospital, Alex began participating in the Burn Institute’s burn survivor programs where he met other survivors who understood what he was going through. He attended the Adult Burn Survivor and Caregiver Retreat, which provided him an outlet to talk openly with fellow survivors about his trauma, his struggles and his road to emotional healing. The retreat was a momentous experience for his recovery that allowed him to build a family of others who understood. Over time, and with a supportive circle around him, Alex regained his confidence, his self-esteem and his beaming smile.
If you would like to help other adult burn survivors experiencing isolation and self-doubt, consider making a gift to our Burn Survivor Support Services here.