2014 Scholarships


There were 3 successful recipient for the Thomas W. Hart Memorial Scholarship in 2014. We are very proud to recognize Jordan Furutani (Not pictured), Daniel Elias and Maria Cristina Laureano at the conference on October 25, 2014.

Congratulations to all! Pictured with our recipients are Hart family members John Hart, Hazel Booth, Ellora Hart and Loretta Gosnell.

2014 Conference


The Mamingwey Burn Survivor Society held its 17th annual Burn Survivor gathering on October 24 and 25, 2014 at the Canad Inns Polo Park Hotel. The theme this year was “Turn your Demons into Diamonds”.
The 2-day conference was attended by 116 burn survivors, their family members, Burn Unit staff, and firefighters from Manitoba and beyond.


Keynote speaker Spencer Beach started the conference by sharing his story of struggles and triumphs after sustaining a 95 % body surface area burn approximately 11 years ago. Spencer was a 3rd generation flooring installer and among the best in his field when he endured a horrific flash fire that left him permanently and severely scarred. After spending 14 months in the hospital and a year after that of intense rehabilitation, he has gone on to carve out a new path for his life.

He has now achieved such designations as a Construction Safety Officer through the Alberta Construction Safety Association, as well completed the University of Alberta’s, Faculty of Extensions, Occupational Health & Safety Certificate program. Spencer explained how he turned his personal demons into diamonds – instead of letting his anger at his situation get the better of him, he used it to motivate himself to regain and happy, healthy and safe life. Spencer was engaging and inspired many of the conference attendees to understand what true success looks like and to always look forward in recovery.

A group of local survivors were asked to speak on a panel to share their individual journeys since sustaining a burn injury, and explain how they had each turned their own demons into diamonds. This session generated a lot of excellent questions from the audience.

We also had a medical presentation on “The Benefits of Counseling” by Dr. Andrea Piotrowski, a clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Manitoba. Sulaye Thakrar, PhD candidate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Manitoba, presented an update on his burn research focusing on how burn survivors experience, make future plans in, and find meaning while healing from a burn injury particularly through societal pressures and influences such as their gendered socialization.

In order to help those who are interested in journaling or use writing as a therapeutic tool, Donna Besel of the Manitoba Writers Guild led a session “How to use your Pen to Find Meaning”. Donna offered great tips and examples of how creative writing can empower people to heal from trauma and enhance their relationships.
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.

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, Dr Greg Stewart of St Anne’s Road Chiropractic, Wieler and Wieler Certified General Accountants, the United Steelworkers Local 6166, Marie Alkana and the HSC Executive for their generous contributions that made this event possible.

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2013 Conference

The Mamingwey Burn Survivor Society held its 16th annual Burn Survivor gathering on October 25 and 26, 2013 at the Canad Inns Polo Park Hotel. The theme this year was “Together we are Stronger”.

This was our best attended local conference with over 130 burn survivors, family members, HSC staff, and firefighters from Manitoba and beyond attending the 2 day sessions.

The keynote speaker, Liz Dideon Hess, is a burn survivor who brings valuable credibility to her job as a clinical social worker working with burn patients and their families at the LeHigh Valley Hospital Burn Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania. “Using my own story is a very powerful way to connect with new patients who often can’t believe there’s a life after a bad burn. Seeing somebody else like me with a major burn injury who has a job, is happily married, comfortable and confident can be really inspiring.” Liz shared her story of burn recovery at our conference and also led an interactive session on “Putting the U in Support”. Her moving story and open and honest nature made a huge impact on the listeners as they related to her struggles and triumphs.

One particularly powerful session centered on the importance of a support network for not just the survivor, but also the entire family. This session started with a burn survivor sharing his story and then three family members (a sibling, a son and a spouse) discussed their personal experiences as they watched their respective loved ones journey through hospitalization and recovery beyond the burn. Their experiences resonated with many survivors and family members in our audience.

We also had several medical presentations including a session on “Improving Sleep after Injury” by Dr. Norah Vincent, a leading expert on how to improve sleep habits; a discussion on “The Role of Spirituality in Healing” by Spiritual Health Specialist Daniel Barclay, and a presentation on “Coping Emotionally After a Burn” by psychiatric nurses Kris Lischynski and Tasha Szczerba.

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.
The Mamingwey Burn Survivor Society again hosted a half-day Children’s program for children who have been burned as well as their siblings and children of parents who are burned. Twelve children attended it this 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, Bio-Med Sciences Inc United Steelworkers Local 6166, the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba, CityPlace Orthodontics, the Manitoba Pork Council and Power Vac Services Ltd for their generous contributions that made this event possible.

2012 Conference

Triumph in Recovery:
Focusing on You!
October 26th & 27th, 2012
Canad Inns Polo Park Hotel
1405 St. Mathews Ave., Winnipeg Manitoba

Key Note Speaker: James Bosch

James Bosch knows a few things about burn injuries and thriving beyond them. At the age of 8 months he was severely burned by scalding water when a humidifier fell in his crib. Since that day, burn surgery and the challenges scars add to emotional development, were intricate parts of his life. He has taken this experience and used it to help others accept and heal past their burn injuries. James has years of experience working with burn survivors and their families, is a national speaker and educator on burn recovery and holds a masters in counseling psychology.

2012 Scholarships

In 2012, there were 3 successful recipients of the Thomas W. Hart Memorial Scholarship.

We are very proud to have recognized Maria Cristina Laureano, Ashley Wilson, and Raphael Laureano at the conference on October 27.

We congratulate these special people and wish them well in their studies.

Pictured here are our scholars with members of the Hart family. Left to right are Ryan Hart, Ellora Hart, Tom Booth, John Hart, Karen Hart, Hazel Booth, Maria Cristina Laureano, Ashley Wilson, and Raphael Laureano.

2011 Conference

The Mamingwey Burn Survivor Society held its 14th annual Burn Survivor gathering on October 28 and 29, 2011 at the Canad Inns Club Regent Hotel. The theme this year was “Taking Care of Ourselves”.

Approximately 90 burn survivors, family members, HSC staff and fire fighters from Manitoba and Nunavut attended the two day conference. The keynote speaker, Chris Gilyard, is a burn survivor from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Chris works as the Burn Support Representative at the Regions Hospital Burn Center and routinely offers guidance and hope to burn survivors there. Chris was burned at the age of 17 and gave a powerful and honest presentation entitled “Walking Through the Ashes” as she openly discussed her struggles with pain, disfigurement and relationships. Chris’s powerful message spoke to everyone in attendance as she shared her journey and the ways she has dealt with her burn injury. She also offered insight and tools to assist burn survivors and their families cope with their injuries in a second presentation “The Human Side of Healing”.

Also speaking was Slade Doyle from Brandon, a bilateral upper limb amputee who has achieved world recognition as the only double amputee member of the Canadian amputee hockey team who won a World Gold medal in 2010. Slade has most recently taken up cross country skiing, having won 3 gold medals this spring at the Canada Winter Games. His next goal is to qualify for the Paralympic Games in 2014. Slade’s talk, “I Choose to Feel”, was very inspirational and uplifting to all participants. Slade also spends time with his wife and three small daughters and aims to live a balanced life.

Attendees were very pleased to have an informative presentation given by Nancy Coutris, Burn Unit clinical dietician, who explained the nutritional needs of the burn injured patient and discussed good nutritional practice. There were also two excellent panel discussions where local survivors discussed “Taking Care of our Physical Health” and “Taking Care of our Emotional Health”.

2010 Conference

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The fourth Canadian Burn Survivors Conference was held in Winnipeg from June 9 to 12, 2010, and was hosted by the Mamingwey Burn Survivor Society.

Just over 160 burn survivors, family members, fire fighters and burn unit staff were in attendance. Attendees came from across the country, as well as the United States and one person came all the way from England.

Our opening reception featured the music of the Winnipeg group “Flosoul” and traditional Winnipeg Social food (including garlic sausage, rye bread, and perogies).

Keynote Speakers Jill Sproul and Kevin Cook began the conference by sharing their stories of how they each sustained a burn injury and then met as a result of being burned. They focused on the positive aspects of their lives and the hope that has sustained them through dealing with their injuries.
Our second day featured Keynote Speaker Jami Goldman described how she became a world class competitive runner after loosing both legs below the knees due to a frostbite injury. Her energy and drive to succeed inspired many of the attendees to not give up and to pursue their dreams.
That evening featured a Fire Fighters Chili and Stew Cook-off event where conference attendees were served dinner by more than 50 local fire fighters, and the country band ‘Back 40’ entertained. After the appearance of our very own Elvis, we were also treated to our own fire works display to cap off the night.

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Charlene Pell led a session on “What to Do when People Stare” and Elmer Schultz shared his story of how “I survived 7000 Volts”. There were breakout sessions on such topics as “Skin Care for the Burn Patient”, “The Impact of a Burn Injury on Families”, “Compassion Fatigue”, and “People Healing People”. There were sharing circles that allowed each and every conference attendee to participate in sharing with a group of others who had been through a similar experience, and “Open Mic” times when all were welcome to speak and share in front of the entire group.

The conference ended with a banquet dinner and dance as the next conference hosts were introduced and a banner was passed on to them. We look forward to seeing everyone in Calgary in 2012!


Thanks to all who attended in making this conference an event of healing: “People Healing People”!

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