Phoenix Society's World Burn Congress Comes to Milwaukee September 12 - 15

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Phoenix Society for burn survivors

Wisconsin Alliance for Fire Safety and Columbia St. Mary's Co-host the 2012 World Burn Congress

Milwaukee, WI, July 24, 2012 -- A severe burn can be one of the most painful injuries that a human body can suffer physically and emotionally. From September 12-15, 2012, more than 800 burn survivors, their families, caregivers, burn care professionals and firefighters will attend the Phoenix Society’s World Burn Congress at the Frontier Airlines Center in Milwaukee, WI to share experiences with other survivors, increase their knowledge about recovery and learn about support networks.

“We are committed to ensuring that every burn survivor and their loved ones have the necessary support and resources they need to recover and live their lives,” said Amy Acton, Executive Director, Phoenix Society. “We are very excited to bring our conference to Milwaukee for the first time and work with our hosts. There will be four days filled with inspirational stories of survival, courage and personal growth. This will be a life-changing experience for everyone involved,” she said.

This year’s conference is hosted by Columbia St. Mary’s Regional Burn Center and the Wisconsin Alliance for Fire Safety (WAFS). “The Wisconsin Alliance considers it a privilege to co-sponsor the 2012 Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors World Burn Congress,” said Dan Gengler, President of WAFS. “Our mission to promote, encourage and foster fire safety, and support burn survivors of all ages, is exemplified through our support of World Burn Congress and the opportunities it offers burn survivors.”

Columbia St. Mary’s, home to a world-class regional burn center for more than 50 years, also shares its enthusiasm to co-host the event. “Columbia St. Mary’s is proud to co-sponsor the World Burn Congress this year,” said Dr. Anthony Linn, Medical Director for Columbia St. Mary’s Regional Burn Center.

Congress is an invaluable resource of information and support for burn survivors and their families all over the world and we are honored to partner with them on this event.”

The following is a list of featured speakers at World Burn Congress, including burn survivors and burn professionals, who will share their inspirational stories:

  • J. R. Martinez, an Iraq War Veteran and TV actor and winner of last season’s Dancing with the Stars (ABC), who was injured in Iraq when his Humvee hit a landmine.
  • Kyle Maynard, a motivational speaker, author, entrepreneur and athlete born in 1986 with arms that end at the elbows and legs near the knees. Despite these challenges Kyle has wrestled for one of the best teams in the Southeast, set records in weightlifting, fought in mixed martial arts, and most recently became the first man to crawl on his own to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.
  • Kristin Neff, PhD, received her doctorate in Human Development from the University of California at Berkeley in 1997. She is currently an Associate Professor of Human Development and Culture at the University of Texas at Austin and is the world's leading expert on self-compassion. Kristin is also the mother featured in the award-winning documentary and best-selling book The Horse Boy, which chronicles her family's adventure with autism.
  • Bill Ester, a local Milwaukee burn survivor. During a part-time truck driving job, Bill was involved in a horrible accident that burned him quite severely when 8,500 gallons of gasoline exploded and engulfed him in flames. Yet, you can find him, his wife, and their three children fully enjoying life. He shares his inspirational journey with the message – We need to live on purpose and with a purpose!

During the four-day conference, sessions will cover topics ranging from social challenges such as dealing with anxiety and psychological pain after hospital discharge, a young adult program to help survivors ages 18-25 build confidence, fostering personal growth and enhancing communication skills. A special youth and family program for children from seven to 17 years old will help family members learn how a burn injury impacts the overall family structure. Burn survivors can also attend a private creative cosmetics and color analysis consultation, and gain knowledge about advocacy roles they can play to raise awareness about burn prevention programs.

For more information, or to view a copy of the convention program brochure including the workshops, bios and schedule of events, visit


The Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors is the leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering anyone affected by a burn injury through peer support, education and advocacy. For more than 30 years, the Society has partnered with survivors, families, healthcare professionals, burn centers and the fire industry to prevent burn injuries, support recovery and improve the quality of burn care. Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Society is committed to advancing recovery resources, providing environments to renew the spirit and supporting a positive return to life. The Phoenix Society takes its name from the legendary bird that lives 500 years and is consumed by flame, but rises again, reborn from its ashes, more brilliant than before. For more information visit our website at

Media Contact: Amy Acton
Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors
800-888-2876 (office) or 616-304-2262 (cell/onsite)

Columbia St. Mary’s Regional Burn Center: Columbia St Mary’s Regional Burn Center in Milwaukee is renowned for providing exceptional burn care throughout eastern Wisconsin, Upper Michigan and Northern Illinois. Having opened in 1959, it is the first Burn Center in Wisconsin and the 4th oldest in the nation. The Regional Burn Center is now prominently located on the 5th floor of the new state-of-the-art Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital Milwaukee, where patients, families and caregivers can have respite views overlooking Lake Michigan. The Burn Center is a 12-bed unit treating between 150 – 250 patients per year.

Columbia St. Mary’s Regional Burn Center was chosen as a Site of Excellence in 2012 by the Wisconsin EMS Association.

Media Contact: Kathleen Schmitz
Columbia St. Mary’s Health System
(414) 270-4815 (office) or (414) 305-3023 (cell)

ABOUT WAFS: The Wisconsin Alliance for Fire Safety (WAFS) is a nonprofit organization with more than 20 years experience as a notable organization promoting fire safety. Our mission is “to promote, encourage and foster fire safety, burn prevention and public fire safety education. We support burn survivors of all ages in addition to sponsorship of the Summer Camp for Burn Injured Youth.” We fully expect to continue our efforts to help burn survivors enjoy their deserved quality of life with continued support from donors.

Media Contact: Laurie Frey
Wisconsin Alliance for Fire Safety
(414) 326-2436 (office) or (262) 719-3006 (cell)



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