An article appearing on page one of Wednesday’s Whidbey News-Times hit close to home.
“Burn camp helps healing,” told the story of Oak Harbor’s Suzi Bartlett and her 12-year-old son, Joey.
When he was 8, Joey was burned over 27 percent of his body. He was on the back porch, trying to light a newspaper with a match and a couple of drops of gas from an empty gas can that sat nearby.
The images in the story resonated with me, and I could relate at the deepest level to the accounts of Joey’s struggles after the accident.
When I was 4, I was also burned. My older brother ignited a glass jar filled with gasoline and caterpillars in a burn barrel behind our house.
I remember the bright orange flash, I remember screaming and I remember bits and pieces of the ensuing panic.
The left side of my face was burned, as was my left hand, which I raised to cover my face. I was wearing a long-sleeved sweater that protected my arms. Our family doctor removed skin taken from my front left calf and the grafts were applied to my face and hand. Years later he told me it was his only such surgery.
Fortunately, the mind allows you to forget the physical pain. It doesn’t prepare you to deal with the emotional aspects of living with scars.
Reading about Camp Eyabsut, a camp in North Bend that builds self-estem for young burn victims, I was happy to learn there have been huge strides over the past 40-plus years in helping children to heal inside and out.
Suzi Bartlett is grateful for what the camp has done to help her son and is doing what she can to give back. I agree, it’s a great cause.
To help Suzi Bartlett raise money for the camp, you can buy premade cookie mix and sugar scrubs; you can message her through www.facebook.com/suziesoddsandends