If you have been following along with the Little Leaders Series you will know that I have featured and shared so many amazing and inspirational young leaders in the community. Today is no different and I am honoured to have Cheyenne take over the blog today to share her story.
Take it away Cheyenne!
Hello! My name is Cheyenne Horvath. I am 20 years old, and I am a burn survivor.
My burn injury occurred in 2002 on Easter Monday, when I was just over a year old. I don’t remember the accident, but my mom told me how it happened. She went to answer the phone and I had used the glass that protected the gas fireplace to stand up. I had second and third degree burns on both of the palms of my hands. I was immediately rushed to the hospital where I had multiple doctors and nurses waiting for me. My right-hand burn was much worse than my left. At the hospital I was admitted to the burn unit after reacting to one of the medications.
Soon after began my long recovery journey of multiple surgeries and skin grafts for the next 16 years. Every time I had a growth spurt, approximately every one to three years, I had to have a surgery to prevent my hands from curling inwards and losing all hand function.
I am thankful my injury happened because it led me to my Burn Camp family where I have been attending the camp since I was six years old. The Burn Camp is put on by the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, and it hosts young burn survivors for one week of camp each July. Over one thousand children from across B.C. between the ages of 6 and 18 have attended since 1994. For me, the Burn Camp is where you get to be a kid with other kids and adults that are like you, and there’s nobody asking what happened or why you have scars because at Burn Camp it’s normal for all these things.
Due to my injuries, I had tiny holes in my hands growing up that were from the scar tissue. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized that it wasn’t normal to have these, and it was sort of weird. However, I’m proud of them because they make me, well me! It was because of Burn Camp that I felt secure about my hands. I didn’t grow up thinking that scars were weird, and that they were something I needed to hide or be ashamed of. I thought smooth hands were weird, and I kind of still do.
We did so many things at Burn Camp that showed me that I was not alone with my burns and that there were others just like me. Having other burn survivors around me taught me to be proud of who I am and what happened to me. I want future burn survivors to realize your burn injury doesn’t define you, but rather it’s just a part of your story. It’s because of camp I got to experience so many opportunities that I never would have otherwise done, such as going to international Burn Camp in Washington DC where I met even more burn survivors from all over North America.
Without fundraising opportunities such as the Hometown Heroes Lottery that supports VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation and the Burn Fund, kids like me would never get to experience the awesomeness that is Burn Camp. The Hometown Heroes Lottery is a great opportunity to show your support for the hospital and burn fund and for kids like me.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story!