Young burn survivors have came together in Akron for self-healing, camaraderie and self-confidence. They say their scars have only made them stronger.
As a part of Burn Camp, the children took part in Fire Truck Day with local firefighters. Every child had a bright, smiling face and a story to tell.
“Lacquer caught fire and exploded on to me,” said burn survivor Coleson Miller.
All of the children at the event were treated at Akron Children's Burn Center.
“They helped me a lot with walking and ignoring all the people who didn't truly know me,” said Coleson.
Coleson's mother, Amy Miller, says hardships can either tear a family apart or bring them closer together. She says this hardship brought hers together.
“I knew that I couldn't be a puddle of mush at the hospital, because I had to be strong for Coleson,” said Miller.
Guy Hughes says his grandson, Kameron Jackson, was treated at Akron Children's Burn Center for 23 days.
“He got burned by water,” he said. “His brother happened to be taking water off the stove and ran into him when the water spilled on him.”
After coming to Fire Truck Day last year with his grandson, Hughes, who owns Guy's BBQ, says he felt compelled to give back, by donating his time and his cooking.
“We were just overwhelmed, it was awesome,” said Hughes.
Of course, after leaving the hospital, the young burn survivors are forced to face the real world.
“I see the kids in the burn center, and they're changing their bandages and we have to explain to them why this happened to them, and what they're going to go through, after they leave the hospital, and they're hurting," said Burn Center Education Coordinator Becky Mundy.
The real world can be tough. The Burn Camp and Fire Truck Day give these children, covered in burns, a day to escape and to be with people who are just like them, and who understand their hardships.
“I get to see them smiling and jumping, and being active and being a kid again,” said Mundy.
Colson’s mother said he looks forward to it every year.
“Everybody here has scars and burns, and he just boost his confidence like 100 degrees,” she said.
With more than 20 fire engines, complete with sirens, no one walks away dry from Fire Truck Day’s splash party.
Every year, the non-profit Aluminum Cans for Burned Children also puts together clouds of soap to give the children some wet and bubbly fun!
“Everybody here is exactly the same and special at the same time,” said Colton.