Motivation & Inspiration

Keenan Chandler

          Children never expect to be the victim of traumatic, careless accidents. You always hear about bad things happening to people, but you never expect it to happen to you. When I was 11 years old I became one of those people. I was the victim of a gas fire, causing 36% of my body to suffer 2nd and 3rd degree burns and 100% inhalation burns. I spent almost a month in the IWK Health Center in Halifax, 11 days of which were in a coma. When I woke up and realized the extent of my injuries, the realization that I could no longer be a regular kid was a hard pill to swallow.

          A few months after my accident I was contacted about a camp that was specifically catered to people like me who were burned in some way. The pamphlets and website instantly caught the attention of my parents and I. It was so surreal to see people, whose lives were uprooted by this unfortunate similarity, having fun and enjoying life in the skin they were in. Once I was medically fit enough to attend I made it my number one priority to make it there.

           To say that the Atlantic Burn Camp was life changing isn’t doing it enough justice. For the first time since the accident I felt normal. I was welcomed with open arms to a place where every single person there knew exactly what I went through and what it felt like to be different from the people they pass on the sidewalk. It’s a place of healing, love and warmth. Without my newfound family, I wouldn’t know what a privilege it is to be able to share my story and wear my scars proudly. At 23 years old I still get excited to get on the bus and spend a much needed week with the people who shaped me into the best version of myself. The word victim is no longer applicable to me anymore, the ABC and the acceptance and guidance they’ve provided for me has made me into a survivor.