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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