Motivation & Inspiration
I survived to burn injuries when I was 4 years old, it was a kitchen accident involving hot water, my mother and me. 30% of my body was burned to the second and third degree, I passed 2 ½ months at the moncton’s hospital and afterwards, I had to wear a pressure garment. I came to school with my suit, my scars and my innocence. In school they treated me as if I was an alien and that they would have to send me back where I came from. They threw words and rocks at me and until I was nine years old (the first year of ABC) I felt as if I was alone in the world. When I first came to camp I was a little scared, not to leave home but to be placed in a bunch of English persons (at that time I did not knew a word of English). Nevertheless, I loved my experience so much I always wanted to go back, I was surviving trough the school because I wanted to be there (at camp) next summer. One year I even wrote a Good Bye speech which I never pronounced because that particular year camp was cancelled for an insurance reason. I was so frustrated I wrote to the newspaper (with a little help from my mom because at that point I could talk English but I couldn’t write properly). ABC made me become a more confident individual just by showing me I wasn’t alone in the world, that I was a human being as respectable as others and by the contact of others experiencing the same situations I could let go some of my fears. For example, when I was young I feared that nobody could ever love me, I thought I was ugly… Today I think that anything can happen, I can love, be loved, be successful, happy and Pretty!
ABC is the best camp I ever went to, I think that what works so good about this camp is that most counsellors are also burn survivors and can guide you. The fact that we are among almost only burn survivors tend to force everybody to mingle and help others with their difficulty. When I was a camper at ABC I saw improvement in my life and in life of others. I remember once one of my friend was never putting on short, never going swimming: she was ashamed of her scars, and thought they were ugly, thought she was ugly… after a few years attending to ABC she was going swimming with everybody else and was wearing shorts.
With ABC some family issues went away. My mothers felt some culpability about the accident and it made me sad she did felt this way. Over the years, we talked a lot about it and she fell less culpability now, everybody is more happy!
When I was 18 I was chosen to go to the IAFF International Burn camp in Washington DC, it was really fun to meet with a lot of individuals from all over USA and Canada and to talk about the way their camp was being organized to see the difference and to share. It was an honour for me to attend.
I did not go to ABC last summer because of my summer job. I was sad. I hope I can make it this year and all the other years to come.
The letter I wrote to the newspaper the year that the camp was not possible because of the insurance:
I cried and I want to admit I was frustrated against everybody and everything. I have a hard time understanding. Finally I told myself that nobody could know what it was like unless they had lived it. No nobody could know what we have lived. What hardship we have lived what we are still living. I told myself that if I made an effort I could inform you and that maybe you could come to understand what I feel everyday, those scars those burns are like war injuries. They are witness of all suffering that we have to face. Ignorance and cruelty of others are very painful. You can’t know the good feeling it is when we know that we are not alone in that situation. We can talk about it, talk about every thing that went wrong in the year. I have sponged up tears and others have done the same for me. It’s like we get rid of all the frustration that we have accumulated in the year so we can turn the page and then go play, smile and laugh again. It’s only a week, yet, for me it is better than any support group that would meet all trough the year. I wait for this camp all year and sometimes I think of happy moments and this help’s me to keep going. I was counting the day s and I was waiting for this big event. Now lies a rip in my summer and in the year to come. This news in my heart was the worst that could happen.
Take away a preferred doll from a child and you will see his reaction. That object is symbolic and brings security and joy. The lost becomes like a hole in the child universe and the mourning is difficult. Taking away this camp is like taking away the most important thing in my life. Please open your hearth to this sharing and I beg you to do everything in your power to make this camp a reality. This is my wish.
A few days after I knew about this catastrophic news, I dreamed that my letter had made a difference. Somebody understood the importance this camp had for us the participants. The camp had taken place and we had the insurance that is so dear to us.
I woke up and I realized that reality is not so. Life is not a dream. It’s just like that. I have just realized how important this camp is to me because I’m not going this summer.
The good bye Speech:
Some people would say that burn is the worst thing that could happen to a person. I don’t know if they are right but I know It’s hard, hard to survive, not for the accident or the scars, only because of the way people react in front of difference. They treated me like an alien. When I was young and now, sometimes I see people pointing at me, and I know it’s the same thing for you, sometimes, when it’s really bad I think of what it would be if it never happened and I always say to myself only for this camp, only to see all the people here who are standing in life with courage I say to myself I don’t want to go back in time. Today I want to say a great thank you to all of you who made me survived all year knowing I would see you back every summer. Guys, I love you all very much. Thank you for being here. To you, volunteers, survivors, donators, to everybody who makes this camp possible: THANK-YOU!