The fund behind the effort
SPIRIT (Scar Physiology, Research and treatment Foundation) has been created to raise funds for scar treatment and research.
The mission of the SPIRIT Foundation is to advance the knowledge of how burn scars develop over time, in order to determine what interventions will alter scar development to minimize the undesired physical effects of scaring, and its associated pain.
Donations to SPIRIT are used exclusively to fund and advance the research necessary to develop techniques that will allow health care providers to influence scar development in a way that allows more survivors to return to a happier and more productive life.
The principals involved in the Scar Physiology, Research and Treatment Foundation have personal stories themselves.
Matt Ferdock, CEO of DataCeutics, discusses his personal connection to scar research and the SPIRIT Foundation.
Sigrid Blome-Eberwein, MD.
Sigrid Blome-Eberwein, MD is a burn surgeon and researcher at LeHigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) Regional Burn Center. The LVHN Regional Burn Center is one of the busiest burn centers in North America, receiving over 900 admissions per year.
SCARS RUn DEEP
SCAR RESEARCH & EDUCATION
OUR FOCUS AREAS OF EDUCATION
Burns sustained from accidents and military injuries leave physical, visible scars. Individuals suffer from itching, pain, tightness, color inconsistency, stigmatizing and often disability that carries occupational, financial and social consequences. Laser treatment has been shown to minimize most of these symptoms and should be standardized and made available to all.
On November 11th, 2006, Bill was spending time in his camper doing chores; multi-tasking like many do. Having left his camper for a few minutes, forgetting the stove was still on, he returned to find heavy smoke in and around the unit. He entered to get the fire extinguisher, which didn't help very much since the propane tank was still on. The flames overtook him. What Bill remembers after that, is a helicopter landing near him.
Now, years later, Bill reflects on the treatments available to aide in his ongoing recovery. The most significant scarring is on his head and reconstructed hands. Treatments included compression suits, home care and a series of 20-30 minute laser treatments which Bill says are extremely helpful with scar reduction and relieving the itching. Some scars have actually disappeared!
It was Palm Sunday, March 28th, 2010 at 4 am. Leo was an electrician, called out to do an underground job to restore power in his town. He had to climb 10 feet down into a 8 x 10 foot vault. He was finishing up, having made the final changes needed to a 2,000 volt primary switch, and as Leo took the last step to close the switch, there was a major malfunction. The switch blew up.
Fully engulfed in flames, with his partner at the top, Leo managed somehow to climb up the vault. Luckily, the fire department was already on hand, along with an ambulance, to transport him to the hospital burn center.
After a total of 8 months of surgeries and special care, Leo lived with constant pain, along with tingling in his legs-- like pins and needles. The pain came mostly from his legs and the scars on his face and upper arms, where his utility gloves did not protect him. Leo's injuries were from extreme heat, as well as the fire. The combination affected bones in his legs, so much so that there was discussion about amputating his legs beneath his knees. Pain Management was challenging for Leo on two fronts. In addition to constant pain from his scars, he experienced excruciating nerve pain in his bones. Through the use of lasers starting in 2014, Leo reports that the treatments have given him 100% freedom from the pain.
Laser treatments also loosened the skin on his face, and eliminated so much of the red and rough texture of the skin, that Leo says it almost feels like it did before the explosion. He constantly talks to other scar patients about his success with lasers because many do not have access or knowledge of their benefits.
It was 1992, and at the time, Maurice was 11 years old. The young boy's interest in matches created an incident that left fifty-five percent of his body with horrifying 2nd degree burns.
He remembers his mom frantically racing to the emergency room in their small hometown. His long and painful recovery began with a 5-month stay in the hospital.
Various treatments and hospital visits became routine for Maurice. Over the past 20 years, pressure garments, surgeries and ointments improved his scars, but did not take away the pain and lack of flexibility that resulted from his injuries. Fortunately, in January 2014, Maurice was introduced to laser treatment. He is extremely impressed with lasers, which he finds much less invasive than previous treatments, and loves that they can be administered to him as an outpatient. Scarred tissue areas have been successfully softened to increase flexibility. Most importantly, Maurice's ankle, painful for decades, has become receptive to the laser rays. He is feeling significantly better after a number of laser treatments, and is now finally at ease when walking.
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The SPIRIT Foundation is also affiliated with The Burn Prevention Network. Incorporated in 1987, the Burn Prevention Network was created to provide fire safety and prevention education for those at the greatest risk of burn injuries, and to advocate for them. In addressing this mission, the network serves to connect public safety professionals, educators and the general public with those who are charged with fire suppression, regional burn critical care, as well as the triage and transport of burn victims.
Fire safety and burn prevention programs, media awareness alerts, legislative advocacy and the support of burn survivors are all vital to the mission.