I was burnt at a very early age, so have lived with burns my whole life without knowing any different. This made it difficult growing up as I felt alone and frightened. Since going on the Camps I have discovered that I am not alone and there is in fact many others with similar situations to me. I have found a new sense of confidence and self-worth that has grown over the years that I owe to the KIDS Foundation.
Matthew Thiele – Burn Survivor
Matt was trapped in a car fire in April 1999, at the age of three. He sustained full thickness burns to just over 30% of his body, the worst of the burns being on his face, head and hands. He was in hospital for three and a half months which included 33 days in intensive care, mainly due to the many complications that arose from the burns and subsequent infections.
Matt’s prognosis was not good and after two cardiac arrests in the intensive care unit, the doctors suggested that his life support be switched off. Matt had already fought so hard that his family held out hope that he would improve and they would not have to let him go. After two weeks he was able to survive independently. Matt has needed to have many skin grafts and he has lost parts of all his fingers. He has endured many operations for skin releases, as well as operations on his legs where the bones were affected from the infections.
Matt has been on a tough and emotional journey but is not one to feel sorry for himself. He is one of the happiest young men around, always quick with a smile and he enjoys life.
He has been involved with the KIDS Foundation for over a decade. Not only has he gained many new friends but it has dramatically improved his confidence and self-esteem.
I am one of the Youth Ambassadors for the KIDS Foundation and Burn Survivors Network. I’m going to tell you about the fun things we do through the KIDS Foundation and how it has changed our lives.
When I came to the KIDS Foundation at 10 years of age, I was shy and thought I was the only person that had been burnt. But I soon learnt there are many survivors with stories of what they went through most can’t imagine.
We go on five camps a year, a family camp and kids’ only camps. Not only are they lots of fun, but we get to share things with others that only burn survivors would understand. Like the more than 100 operations and skin grafts.
KIDS Foundation for me, has led me to gaining my black belt in karate and having the confidence to speak at events on occasions in front of more 1000 people. As an Ambassador, I meet new survivors and become a mentor to them.
This wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for people like you that support the KIDS Foundation. So, on behalf of all the kids at the Foundation, thank you.
Help young people like Matt