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Arizona Burn Foundation Improving quality of life for burn survivors, and promoting burn prevention

Monday, November 18, 2019   (0 Comments)
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Arizona Burn Foundation Improving quality of life for burn survivors, and promoting burn prevention 

By Ashley Ford

The Story
What started as a shared idea between two surgeons and an attorney has grown into a 52-year-old foundation that is changing the lives of burn survivors across Arizona. In 1967, Dr. MacDonald Wood, Dr. William Price and George F. Randolph saw a need in Phoenix for people who had survived a burn and were discharged from the hospital to face a future of healing and, often, uncertainty of what was to come next.

Arizona Burn Foundation was launched in Maricopa County to assist with the aftercare of burn survivors and their families and to promote education and advocacy. The foundation has since grown into a statewide organization with some of its programming even reaching a national level.

“We work with families as they are entering the burn center and help them navigate that process as a partner in their healing journey,” said Arizona Burn Foundation CEO Rex Albright. “Medicines only go so far. We work to help with the emotional and spiritual healing for a burn survivor and their entire family.”

The Cause
The Arizona Burn Foundation carries out its two-part mission in a multitude of ways. The first half — to support the quality of life of burn survivors and their families — is an ever-growing program involving burn aftercare treatment and healing research. When a patient is admitted into either the Arizona Burn Center in Phoenix or the burn unit at University Medical Center in Tucson, social workers on staff offer emotional support, lodging and meal vouchers. Financial assistance is also available because many times either a family’s breadwinner or a child is burned and the parents need to put their jobs on hold to be with their son or daughter.

After the patient is discharged from the burn unit, Arizona Burn Foundation is there to help families with counseling and a variety of therapies including art, music, equine and PTSD. Camps and retreat programs are also available for childhood burn survivors, teens and young adults, as well as seniors and adult burn survivors. Social gatherings throughout the year allow burn survivors and their families to connect with others and share their healing processes. Through these events, survivors can begin to feel like they’re not alone and build confidence by not being the only person they know with a burn scar.

“One great tool we offer is a school re-entry program for children who are going back into school with a burn injury,” said Arizona Burn Foundation chief operations officer Mik Milem. “Often, Hollywood displays scars and burns on people who are considered a villain and someone who should be feared. The school re-entry program helps the student’s classmates understand what they have been through, what they will continue to go through during their healing, and allows the child to tell their story to their peers.”

The second half of Arizona Burn Foundation’s mission is to promote burn prevention education and advocacy across the state. Through partnerships with local fire departments across Arizona, the foundation has worked to install free smoke alarms in high-risk areas, host smoke alarm events, and educate senior citizens on fall and burn prevention.

Kids of all ages learn about burn prevention through an adorable program called Milo & Moxie: Smart Safety Rangers. This storytime curriculum teaches children and their parents burn-safe behaviors and has reached nearly 240,000 kids across Arizona. More than 60 fire departments have also adopted the program, and Arizona Burn Foundation has a goal that every preschool child in Arizona will have this education available to them.

The Future
Aside from being the state leader in burn prevention education and advocacy, Arizona Burn Foundation is also looking to grow its current programs while expanding across the country.

University Medical Center in Tucson is working on its burn center classification and Arizona Burn Foundation is planning to become a partner on a higher level of burn care and treatment as well as offering services such as art, music and client therapies.

Other cities and states across the country have seen the impact that the Milo & Moxie program can have on school-aged kids. Most recently, it has expanded to Sacramento, and within the next few months, 10,000 students will meet their new dog and hummingbird burn-prevention friends. Denver and San Antonio have also reached out for presentations about how they can adopt the program in their markets.

Arizona Burn Foundation is working hard to help children and families learn the right tools to prevent burns, and also taking care of those who have suffered from the trauma of burns.

“An important part of our foundation is allowing people to see that burn survivors are real people,” Milem said. “If you see someone with a burn, don’t be afraid of them.”
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