BSTTW World Burn Congress (BWBC) Get Together Dinner & Video Voice Chat

By: Michael Appleman, CEO


BSTTW had their second World Burn Congress (WBC) get together dinner & video/voice chat at the WBC 2003.

On September 11, 2003 BSTTW members met in the lobby of the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. Together we decided what local restaurant we would like to go to. When we arrived at the restaurant, the restaurant representative informed us that BSTTW needed to make a reservation several hours in advance. I explained to her that this was a special get together and we would like very much for them to set up a large table for us. The manager of the restaurant came to our rescue and stated that there was a private meeting room available. The meeting room had a large table for the twelve of us that attended the dinner. With a vote of hands, we decided to wait for the room.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina WBC Team

When we got to the meeting room, most of us were very hungry. But again we had to wait for the waitress to get set up. That was ok since we all looked around and felt relaxation and a strong friendship growing. We talked and joked about life. After ordering and getting our food we saw that 2 1/2 hours went by. I looked at everyone and said "the time really went by fast". It is much nicer to have time fly by when you are relaxed and enjoying life. Remembering back to the days, weeks and months during our recovery, when each second of the day felt like they stood still. Today life is so much different. Even with all the changes from before we were all burned, life is enjoyable, relaxing and special.

After the dinner most of us went back to the BSTTW hotel room to take part in the annual BSTTW WBC 2003 Video/Voice Chat. We signed into and found that many burn survivors/family members were waiting for us. They were so happy to see our faces and hear our voices. By shifting the web camera around the room, they were able to see us all.

After speaking with us, the grandmother of a burn survivor, Julieanne, began looking into setting up a trip to the USA in order to attend the WBC 2004 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She was very interested in taking her grandson, a teenage burn survivor, to the event. Once we signed off the internet, Julieanne, called the BSTTW hotel room to speak with us. She was still very excited and wanted to continue hearing our voices.

The WBC is the time when burn survivors, family members, doctors, burn units, care givers, attorneys and others from around the world get together to get & give support, learn and just enjoy several days together. At the WBC so many burn survivors and family members open up and release the pain and suffering that has been inside of them since the accident occurred.

Back in 1999, I attended the WBC for the first time. At that time, I was unable to walk or use the left side of my body. I had suffered from 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th degree burns. My recovery lasted years. During that time, I had surgery, suffered heart attacks and strokes. My body and mind had changed. I did not know what my life was going to be like. After meeting so many caring burn survivors, I realized that life was not over. There was a chance for me to recover and have a better life.