2017 Conference

The Mamingwey Burn Survivor Society held its 20th annual Burn Survivor gathering on October 13 and 14, 2017 at the Canad Inns Polo Park Hotel in Winnipeg. The theme this year was “Turning Tragedy into Hope”.

Seventy-five burn survivors, their family members as well as Burn Unit staff from Manitoba attended this 2-day conference. The atmosphere was very uplifting and had a feeling of a family gathering, as people reconnected with other survivors, family members and hospital staff.

Keynote speaker Heidi Cave opened the conference with her talk, “Turning Tragedy into Hope”. She shared her experiences of being burned in an automobile accident 20 years ago. The car crash resulted in a battle for her life that would involve two weeks in a coma, seven months in the BCPFF Burn and Plastic Surgery Unit at Vancouver General Hospital and an additional five months in rehabilitation. What should have been the darkest chapter of her life became a bright testament to the strength of the human spirit. She is now a mother and motivational speaker. The tragedy of the accident has been turned into a life message of hope. Heidi knows the power of love and courage, and how to impart it to others. Heidi gave a second talk entitled “Recovery Road – The Impact of the Caregiver” where she discussed the many people and aspects of care that assisted her to make a full recovery.

Dr. Jennifer La Force spoke on “Post-Traumatic Growth”, and explained how people who experience a severe injury will often display resilience, and are able to gain a greater awareness of others around them; they live with greater compassion and become more optimistic for the future. This talk helped our audience to understand the myths and realities of post-traumatic growth.

Lisa Forbes, Occupational Therapist and Clinical Specialist working in Burns, led a workshop on “Tool Time: STEPS to Social Comfort and Confidence”. This talk reviewed how to respond to a social interaction when one is being stared at or is asked uncomfortable questions. We heard about “Moving on with Movement”, a talk given by Blake Richison who is the Physiotherapy Clinical Advisor on the Burn Unit. Blake explained the importance of returning to a physically active life following injury and gave many practical tips and suggestions that everyone could relate to.

Three of our local survivors spoke as a panel, discussing their lives after being affected by a burn injury and how they have turned their tragedy into hope. Their struggles and triumphs were told from the heart and many in our audience related to their words and were moved.

Conference attendees participated with each other in several sharing circles, which are considered a most valuable healing experience. Survivors, family and friends of survivors as well as the health care professionals had separate meetings and were able to share their distinct journeys.


The conference closed with a banquet dinner where we were joined by members of the HMCS Chippawa Naval Reserve Band, who generously gave their time to ensure we had some great entertainment and an upbeat atmosphere.


The Mamingwey Burn Survivor Society would like to thank our sponsors: The Firefighters’ Burn Fund Inc., the Health Sciences Centre Foundation, as well as Accurate Fire & Safety, Canad Inns Your Destination Centre Polo Park, the United Fire Fighters of Winnipeg Local 867, Century 21 Carrie.com, the United Steelworkers Local 6166 and Marie Alkana for their generous contributions that made this event possible.

HSC Burn Units

Manitoba Firefighters Burn Unit, Dedicated 2007

The rehabilitation process for a burn survivor can be a long, painful one. When burns and inhalation injuries become life-threatening or are serious enough to require skin grafting or reconstructive surgery, Manitoba burn survivors are transferred to one of two Winnipeg-based burn units – the Manitoba Firefighters Burn Unit at the Health Sciences Centre and the Manitoba Firefighters Burn Fund Children’s Burn Unit at the Children’s Hospital.

Major burns require treatment from a specialized team of nurses, physicians, plastic surgeons, pulmonary specialists, psychologists, dietitians, physical and occupational therapists and social workers. To ensure that the burn units are equipped with the most advanced life-saving and care-giving equipment, the Burn Fund finances the purchase of specialized equipment for all stages of treatment, including emergency wards, operating theaters, intensive care units, burn units and rehabilitation.

Because of the dedication of the burn care teams and the commitment of the Burn Fund to support their work, Manitoba’s burn survivors receive the finest medical care possible.

Almost 30 years ago, a few firefighters recognized there was a need for equipment at the Burn Unit. The 1st fundraiser ever done for the Burn Fund was to raise funds for a heat shield that could be used on the burn unit to keep patients warm during dressing changes. Since then, the Burn Fund has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars towards the purchase of specialized equipment to aid in the treatment of burn survivors.

The Burn Fund is dedicated to making a difference in the treatment of burn survivors, providing such things as; low air loss beds, hydrotherapy baths, a conscious sedation cart, a metabolic cart, food pumps, training and supplies for a skin camouflage program, an operating microscope, conversion of rooms to create an Occupational Therapy facility within the Burn Unit and much more.

Supporting Research & Professional Development

The Burn Fund has long been a supporter of the burn care professionals in the province. We are committed to sponsoring educational programs for the Burn Care teams at the Health Sciences Centre’s CK3 Children’s Burn Unit, and GH5 Adult Burn Unit.

The Burn Fund is devoted to ensuring that these dedicated professionals can continue to provide the best patient care possible. This includes continuing education seminars, conferences, Advanced Burn Life Support (ABLS) courses and many other educational opportunities.

We also provide funding for public education officers across the province to be certified in the Youth Fire Stop Program to assist youth who are at risk for starting fires.

Fire Safety Trailer

The Firefighters Burn Fund, in partnership with Red River Mutual and the Office of the Fire Commissioner have purchased and delivered a fleet of 17 Fire Safety Trailers to Fire Departments throughout Manitoba. These are in addition to 5 other Trailers that were  previously purchased by the Burn Fund, making a total of 22 units in service. The trailers are being strategically placed so that they can be shared by approximately 150 different Fire Departments.

The Fire Safety Trailers are mobile classrooms in which firefighters will teach children about fire and safety hazards in different areas of their homes, and how they should conduct themselves in the event of an emergency. Lessons taught include topics such as: kitchen safety, what to do if the smoke detector is activated, how to call 911, checking a door for heat to determine if there is fire on the other side, crawling low in smoke. Children are also taught to create a home escape plan with their parents, always having 2 ways to exit the house, gathering at a pre-determined location, and calling 9-1-1 once safely out of the house.

We gratefully acknowledge the financial, moral and logistical support of Red River Mutual and the Office of the Fire Commissioner who have helped to make this $1,000,000.00 project possible. Our common goal is to prevent fires, and reduce the number of fire deaths and related injuries that occur each year.

Camp Phoenix

Camp Phoenix is for children and youth aged 6 to 16, who have been patients in the Childrens Hospital burn unit. Every year between 30 and 40 children and youth from Manitoba, Northwestern Ontario and Nunavut, attend Camp Phoenix. The camp is fully funded by the Manitoba Firefighters Burn Fund, is coordinated and staffed by Momenta with support from an Occupational Therapist that works with the campers in the hospital setting. Each year volunteers attend the camp to provide additional support, volunteers include camp alumni, firefighters, burn survivors, health and education professionals.  Camp Phoenix is one of the longest running camps in North America of its kind. and provides an environment for children to be themselves and talk with other burn survivors about their experiences.

For more information about Camp Phoenix, please contact...
Lise Brown,  204.250.8749
Lisa Forbes-Duchart, 204.787.3164
Ed Davidson, 204.254.3619
Sarah Jane Milne, 204.787.1519
Martin Johnson, 204.222.1574

Support For Burn Survivors

Mamingway Burn Survivor Society

The Society was started by health care professionals, the Burn Fund, and burn survivors from across the province to provide a place for people to come for support and information. The Burn Survivor Society has developed a support group as well as other programs to help survivors and their families deal with the injury.

There is a network of burn survivors willing to talk and share their experiences for someone recently injured or anyone having questions about the rehabilitation process or what life can be like after the burn has healed. The Burn Fund and the Mamingway Burn Survivor Society partnered to start the 1st ever Canadian National Burn Survivor Conference held in Winnipeg in 2005. This conference brought burn survivors from all over Canada to Winnipeg to hear from incredible speakers from across North America.

Burn Survivor Conference

A two day annual conference that brings together burn survivors and burn care professionals. A line-up of support-focused seminars and social events makes the conference enlightening and fun-filled.

Skin Camouflage Program

Operated by Occupational Therapy Services at the Health Sciences Centre, the Skin Camouflage Program teaches burn survivors how to apply specially designed creams to minimize the visual effects of scarring.


The Firefighter's Burn Fund Occupational Therapy Unit, JK3
Health Sciences Centre
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Lisa @ 204.787.3164

Young Adult Retreat

This young adult weekend retreat provides young adults age 18 – 30 with an environment to challenge them physically and mentally. The weekend is packed with speakers who encourage the group to grow in all areas, mentally, spiritually and physically. This provides adult burn survivors with the opportunity to connect and build lasting relationships through a common bond.

The Prevention Fund

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This is a fund established by the Firefighters Burn Fund designed to assist Fire Departments throughout Manitoba in the delivery of prevention programs in their respective communities. Each department knows what the fire prevention needs of its community are, but in some cases, does not have the funds to address them.

The Firefighters Burn Fund invites those Departments to submit an application for funding which would include an outline of the identified need, the source of supplies / goods that would help address their concerns, and an estimated cost.

The Firefighters Burn Fund will review each application and will consider funding the application in full, or in part (providing seed monies to help with the ultimate purchase of goods).

Applications should be submitted to the Secretary. The Firefighters Burn Fund may request further information in order to properly assess the request.

For more information, please contact…

Jack Hildebrand, Treasurer


Bursary Program

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Each year the Firefighters Burn Fund sets aside funds for up to six $1000 bursaries.

Applicants are young adult burn survivors who were patients in the Children’s Hospital Burn Unit who are now going on to post-secondary education / trade school.

For more information, please contact…

Martin Johnson, 204.222.1574
Jim Abram, 204.299.9105


2016 Conference

The seventh Canadian Burn Survivors Conference was held in Winnipeg from June 15 to 18, 2016, and was hosted by the Mamingwey Burn Survivor Society.

Just over 180 burn survivors, family members, fire fighters and burn unit staff were in attendance. Attendees came from across the country, all the way from Victoria BC to Gander Newfoundland. Our opening reception featured a comedy Improv group and yummy finger food.

Keynote Speaker Justina Page, whose story as a burn survivor is gripping, inspirational and a testament to the power of hope in dark times.

Justina’s life was changed forever when fire swept through her home, March 7, 1999. The loss of her 22-month old twin son, Amos, the severe and lasting injuries of her other twin son, Benjamin, and her own devastating experience of third degree burns covering 55 percent of her body, affected the entire family.

Our second day featured Keynote Speaker Tyler Pelke who spoke about forgiveness. Tyler’s friend Curtis was murdered, while he was sexually assaulted, his throat slit, set on fire and left to die by the same attacker. He shared the compelling story of confronting his attacker in prison and finding peace and purpose in life through his journey of forgiveness and serving others.

Deborah Blaney Ward shared her courageous story of burn recovery and how she found the courage to write a book about her life, and gave very practical tips for others interested in writing their stories.

There were many other presentations by burn survivors on a variety of themes such as “Hope”, “Forgiveness”, “Navigating Online Burn Support” and “Dealing with a Change of Plans”.Click here to change this text

Medical presentations by Dr. Richard Haydey, dermatologist, clinical psychologist Sulaye Thakrar and Dr. Sarvesh Logsetty on the latest in research survivors cope with their physical as well as psychological injuries. Therapist James Bosch and nurse Cindy Rutter led a session about body image and sexuality following a burn injury, a very important topic.

Thursday evening, we were treated to special tours at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which was a highlight for many of our out of town attendees. One attendee stated that “This was incredible and great bonding time for the group.”

There was also a Young Adult program at Adrenaline Adventures where some of the younger burn survivors and a few others shared the physical challenges of a ropes course; they also had time to talk about their journeys as survivors.

The conference ended Saturday evening with a banquet dinner and dancing groups from the Folk Arts Council who offered multi-cultural entertainment; this was followed by an evening of dancing.

Thanks to all who attended in making this conference, entitled “Building a Supportive Community”, a huge success! Hope to see you all again at the next conference in 2018!

For more information, please email barb@hodgefamily.ca

2015 Conference

The Mamingwey Burn Survivor Society held its 18th annual Burn Survivor gathering on October 16 and 17, 2015 at the Canad Inns Polo Park Hotel in Winnipeg. The theme this year was “Milestones to Healing”.

133 burn survivors, their family members, Burn Unit staff, and firefighters from Manitoba and beyond attended this 2-day conference. We are very pleased that attendance was up from previous years.

Keynote speaker Dustin Wise opened the conference and shared his experiences of being burned in a cooking accident 9 years ago.
Dustin sustained 3rd degree burns and had to undergo numerous surgeries and years of medical attention. As Dustin’s physical scars began to heal, his mental and emotional scars remained raw. Dustin faced years of self-doubt and lacked self-acceptance of his injury’s non-physical scars. He was able to find healing and hope and promised himself that he would seek to empower other survivors. His story was very inspirational and he emphasized the power of healing through community. He led the group in several exercises to help people understand how far they have come in their own journeys, and offered encouragement to help us mark our own milestones to healing.

Our own Ed Wiebe shared his journey in a talk entitled “Overcoming Obstacles to Healing”. Ed was burned when working as a fire fighter in 2007 and suffered extensive burns to 70% of his body. Ed was able to humbly show how his courage, determination, and hard work have all contributed to allow him to return to work in the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service.

Denyse Blanco, Occupational Therapist working in child and adolescent mental health, led us all in a workshop on “Assertiveness Training”. We heard about “How to Move Forward when you are Stuck”, a well received session led by Tasha Szczerba and Kris Lischynski, who are Mental Health Consultation Liaison nurses at the Health Sciences Centre. We also had a medical presentation for Burn Unit staff on “The Art of Living Through the Seasons: Being Attuned to the Joys, Challenges and Mystery of Working in the Health Care Profession” by Daniel Barclay, a member of the Spiritual Health Services team at the Health Sciences Centre.

Four of our local survivors spoke as a panel, discussing their “New Normal” lives after being affected by a burn injury, or having a family member suffer a burn injury. Their struggles and triumphs were told from the heart and many in our audience related to their words and were moved.

Survivors were free to share their journeys with each other in several sharing circles, which are considered a most valuable healing experience. Family and friends of the survivors also had a chance to share with each other.

This year we had a special session for an afternoon, the Young Adult Program, which was attended by 7 young people and 2 facilitators. We are hoping to repeat this program next year.

The Mamingwey Burn Survivor Society would like to thank our sponsors: The Firefighters Burn Fund, the HSC Foundation, as well as Manitoba Hydro, Canad Inns, United Fire Fighters of Winnipeg Local 867, the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba, Carter and Sullivan Orthodontics, Dr Greg Stewart of St Anne’s Road Chiropractic, Kromar Printing, the United Steelworkers Local 6166 and Marie Alkana for their generous contributions that made this event possible.

We are very excited that we have been selected to host the next Canadian Burn Survivors Conference. This important event will take place at the Delta Winnipeg hotel from June 15 to 18, 2016. For more information, please email chair-person Barbara-Anne Hodge at barb@hodgefamily.ca or visit our website at www.mamingwey.ca or go to the Canadian Burn Survivors website at canadianburnsurvivors.ca