Recently, we had the chance to speak to one of our beneficiaries, burn survivor Hayley, and asked her about the impact of meeting others with similar experiences through The Katie Piper Foundation, and how this could be enhanced further through an on-line forum.
Hayley sustained third degree burns on her face and body in 2000 after being caught in a stable fire at the age of 14. She first came into contact with The Katie Piper Foundation in 2013 after reading one of Katie’s books and has since received skin camouflage sessions, medical tattooing and laser treatment and has had many opportunities to meet others with similar experiences through the Foundation.
Did you meet any other burn survivors before contacting The Katie Piper Foundation?
Before being introduced to the KPF I had never had the opportunity to speak to someone who had been through similar experiences as me. Of course I had seen people with burns in waiting rooms at outpatient clinics but never had the opportunity to sit down and have a 1-to-1 with someone who made me understand exactly what I’d been feeling and experiencing over the years on my own was so normal.
How did meeting others help?
Meeting other people who have been through similar experiences truly was the most uplifting feeling I’d ever felt. Almost like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. There were so many instances of me thinking and saying out loud “oh my gosh that’s me”, “that’s exactly what I felt”, it was amazing!
I finally discovered that all the pins and needles, itching, fear of danger etc. was all so normal in a person that has experienced a burn injury! Also, the biggest turning point for me on being introduced to people who have experienced a burn injury was the realisation of how far I’ve come in my own rehabilitation and how much I was able to help someone, just by sharing my experiences. To me, realising that was like striking gold!
What difference would it have made if there was an online forum for you to access when you first needed help?
A massive difference, sometimes people do find it easier putting thoughts in to writing as opposed to speaking in person, almost like a sense of security. By having a forum, I genuinely believe it will help more people than anyone would ever imagine. I think that the forum has potential for families of burns survivors to gain advice from, because my family had no-one to talk to or understand that what I was going through was all normal and they need help too! Families’ can suffer just as much as us but from a different angle.
The Katie Piper Foundation is crowd funding to ensure the launch of the first online forum for people living with burns and trauma scarring. We need every one to help by giving whatever they can afford – every pound really does count! Please follow this link to help us move closer toward our vision of a world where scars do not limit a person’s function, social inclusion or sense of well-being.