Don't Waste You're Life Wishing It Didn't Happen
By: Delores Gempel Lekowski

We didn't become survivors by chance; we become survivors by fighting a daily battle against incredible odds and incredible pain. This title certainly wasn't just handed to us; we earned it, second by second, day by day. We are indeed an incredible group of people. We need to focus on who we are and reconnect with our
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personality and spirit, so that the person inside of us can survive. When we achieve this, then and only then, will we be able to find true happiness. There is so much positive energy
that goes along with the word survivor, and so much negative energy that goes along with the word victim. I don't mean to make light of the pain, trauma, and life altering effects that a burn causes.I have been living in this body since I was ten years old. I don't remember what it's like not to be burned. I guess you could call me a veteran. When we let our minds wander into what I call the, "what if world," we lose some of that positive energy and some of our spirit. We have won the battle of life, now we have to fight the battle for a better life; no one else is going to do it for us. When you take control of your life it will empower you. Now this is quite a combination, an empowered survivor with a stubborn endurance, who say's we can't change the world? There is a lot of positive stuff that we can do to make our world better. The knowledge that we were forced to acquire will help us educate others and our compassion for life will be transferred to them. Tapping into our inner selves will allow us to find hidden talents that we didn't know that we had.

Talents that can be put too good use in our quest to make a difference and a better life for ourselves. What do we do with all this good stuff that we have in our possession and how do we use it to get a better life? Well first of all we stand up and be counted for, we have a lot to be proud of and it is about time that everyone knew this. If we let people ignore us, they will, and if we force people to recognize us they will. People see us as we see ourselves. Second of all, we fight for our rights; we have the right for corrective surgery that wasn't needed or available years ago when some of us were burned. We need to educate the insurance companies so we can have needed procedures paid for by our insurance providers. This in not cosmetic it is a necessity. We have a moral obligation to fight for fire safe products, and to educate the public on certain hazardous products that are used in our

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everyday lives, products that are useful, but are a fire threat. We can teach people how to use these products safely. We need to fight against the prejudice that I am sure we have all faced from time to time. We need to bring awareness to our elite group. We all need to get involved! We need to show just how tough we are! Then, and only then, will we ba able to make a difference. Look what women accomplished in their fight against breast cancer. When was the last time you saw a walk-a-thon for Burn Survivors? Not only do thousands participate, but also big corporations sponsor them. When was the last time you saw celebrates host a big bash to raise monies for Burn Survivors, like they do for other charities? All this came about because; survivors got together and got involved. We need to pull our resources and hang tough. We don't have time to be victims, we only have time to be survivors, so sit back and think about your talents and how you can make a change. If you are a good speaker, start speaking, if you are a good writer, start writing, letters, books, something positive out of the tragedy, it will help your personality bloom, and your spirit shine through, and when this happens your life will be full again. This I promise you.

Would my life be better if I hadn't been burned? This I will never know. What I do know, is that my life is better then some people who were never burned.

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