Survivor (n.): a person who continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship, or setbacks.
Last weekend, Jenna Jordan, Business Development for our Wisconsin offices, travelled to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to co-direct The Wise Foundation’s Young Adult Burn Survivor Conference (YABC). The young adults attending this conference came from all across the US, but shared one thing in common – a significant and life-changing burn injury.
The Wise Foundation is an “Oklahoma-based nonprofit health organization dedicated to providing help, hope and healing to burn survivors through support groups, programs and educational assistance.” One of their many incredible programs is the annual Young Adult Burn Survivor Conference and this year proudly marked its seventh year. The conference is a 3-day weekend event full of workshops, discussions, interviews, guest speakers, and engaging activities. The main objective is to bring together survivors in a safe, empowering place and encourage a smoother transition from their teenage years to their adult years.
One of the many attendees this year was Johnny Quinn, an 18-year-old from Tennessee. Johnny suffered his burn injuries as a child in a house fire in which over 90% of his body was burned. Since then, he has undergone countless surgeries that will likely be necessary for the rest of his life to fight the effects of contracture and the wearing of his scarred skin. Despite his hardships, he doesn’t let any of that slow him down. He is a creative artist, model, and poet who expresses his thoughts and feelings with a maturity well beyond his years, as you can tell by his following words:
“Here’s what I’ve learned at #yabc2018 – In order to grasp reality; we must realize our own individuality. Focus on who you want to become, not what your past has done. Another cannot maintain or provide your happiness, they can only add to your joy you’ve already obtained. That’s why it’s so important to find peace with ourselves. It’s not a race. We cannot rely on another for our happiness. Happiness is a direction, not a place. Stand up, and walk. The sound of hitting the ground is not the final round. You are full of untapped potential. It is essential to find who you are, or the bars of the cage inside you, will never open. It is beautiful to be broken. Unspoken words are sometimes the best words. To be silent and listen to the advice we’re given. Don’t let the bad side of pride initiate our passion.”
Survivors like Johnny are a huge reason why the USAFP team is so passionate about the work we do. Each day we work endlessly to protect lives and prevent injuries caused by fire. It is also part of our corporate responsibility to make sure those who have been affected receive necessary support, both physically and mentally. That’s why we strive to be active throughout the burn survivor community and why we are so proud of Jenna for her involvement and leadership at this conference.
“I’m honored to have been a part of the leadership team running The Wise Foundation Young Adult Burn Survivor Conference this past week. The burn survivor community is close to my heart and they serve as a constant reminder of how important our fire prevention work with USAFP really is. Most people have this sense of invincibility and believe that fire could never affect their lives and only care to do the bare minimum in protecting themselves and their loved ones. I’ve had the unique experience of being surrounded by people who were affected by fire. Some of them have lost personal belongings, homes, limbs, family members and friends and their experience has forever changed their lives. It makes me proud to be part of a company that supports these inspiring individuals on a local and a national level,” Jenna told us.
Check out The Wise Foundation’s website to find out all the ways they are enhancing the quality of life for burn survivors. And don’t forget to visit USAFP’s website to learn more about the importance of life-saving fire sprinklers!