After surviving significant full thickness burns thanks to the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation,Chris is giving something back.
“Let me start off with my story as a patient. I was badly burnt nine years ago – 70% full thickness burns – spending nearly a year in hospital. My burns are mainly to my upper body, in particular my hands and my face. We all know about first, second and third degree burns, and full thickness is a burn down to the muscle and bone, with those all-important skin ingredients destroyed. I was not expected to survive. As humans, we underestimate the importance of our skin as a living organ.
Today we are bombarded by those glossy magazines and air-brushed figures showing us what we should look like. When I eventually saw what I looked like, it came as a shock and an adjustment battle ensued.
After many operations in returning me to a new life that I can manage, I can now reflect on my journey. The way I looked at it in the early days, I had a first life – a normal life. I now have a second life, having been on what I describe as an adventure – an adventure that has given me the honour of meeting brilliant surgeons and benefitting from the tireless, important research and development in improved wound healing and tissue regeneration. That research was stimulated by Sir Archibald McIndoe, as he forged new beginnings for those servicemen injured during the Second World War. And as the generations change, it is important the baton is firmly passed on. History has sadly taught us there will always be some form of conflict, as well as severe injury through accidents.
In a nutshell, I feel I would not be writing this if it were not for the important work gone before. So a huge thank you to all. I have recently been asked to help as a patient representative for the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation — something that enables me to give something back, but to also help ensure the development continues. I was introduced to the laboratory facilities and those currently doing research, and what I saw and learned certainly made my survival even more real. These current research projects will become available in a few years’ time and will certainly change lives. One project is looking at soft tissue reconstruction and I joked with the researcher to hurry up as I could see a potential benefit for me, even though my wounds have healed.
This research is only possible with your donations and I am honoured to have been a recipient, so thank you. To those currently donating, thank you. For all of us, I ask if you are able to assist financially, thank you. If you know someone who has the means, or know someone who knows someone, thank you. The work done by Blond McIndoe has and will continue to benefit us all when we least expect it.”