The Mamingwey Burn Survivor Society held its 14th annual Burn Survivor gathering on October 28 and 29, 2011 at the Canad Inns Club Regent Hotel. The theme this year was “Taking Care of Ourselves”.
Approximately 90 burn survivors, family members, HSC staff and fire fighters from Manitoba and Nunavut attended the two day conference. The keynote speaker, Chris Gilyard, is a burn survivor from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Chris works as the Burn Support Representative at the Regions Hospital Burn Center and routinely offers guidance and hope to burn survivors there. Chris was burned at the age of 17 and gave a powerful and honest presentation entitled “Walking Through the Ashes” as she openly discussed her struggles with pain, disfigurement and relationships. Chris’s powerful message spoke to everyone in attendance as she shared her journey and the ways she has dealt with her burn injury. She also offered insight and tools to assist burn survivors and their families cope with their injuries in a second presentation “The Human Side of Healing”.
Also speaking was Slade Doyle from Brandon, a bilateral upper limb amputee who has achieved world recognition as the only double amputee member of the Canadian amputee hockey team who won a World Gold medal in 2010. Slade has most recently taken up cross country skiing, having won 3 gold medals this spring at the Canada Winter Games. His next goal is to qualify for the Paralympic Games in 2014. Slade’s talk, “I Choose to Feel”, was very inspirational and uplifting to all participants. Slade also spends time with his wife and three small daughters and aims to live a balanced life.
Attendees were very pleased to have an informative presentation given by Nancy Coutris, Burn Unit clinical dietician, who explained the nutritional needs of the burn injured patient and discussed good nutritional practice. There were also two excellent panel discussions where local survivors discussed “Taking Care of our Physical Health” and “Taking Care of our Emotional Health”.