Burn Survivors Throughout The World, Inc. (BSTTW)

Board Of Directors

Michael Appleman: President/CEO & Treasurer/CFO


Michael has been a burn survivor since May 1998. He suffered severe burns to his face, neck, hand, legs, ankles and feet. For 2 1/2 years Michael was unable to walk due to the burn injuries to his legs, the fact that he was suffering from 30 degree contracture to his right knee and he had several heart attacks and strokes. During his recovery, Michael decided to help other burn survivors and family members find their new path in life.

In 2001, Michael Appleman founded Burn Survivors Throughout The World, Inc., known from this point on as BSTTW. Mr. Appleman has the will and ability to make the contacts needed in order to reach BSTTW's goals and desires. As a burn survivor and having a MS Degree in Counseling Psychology Michael is capable of understanding and offering the help needed to both burn survivors and family members. With his accounting background, Mr. Appleman is able to keep an eye on the finances, make sure that financially BSTTW remains stable and that the funding is used correctly. As the Executive Director, Michael is makes the decisions needed to keep BSTTW flowing. Mr. Appleman listens to and works with the other BSTTW Board Members, BSTTW Directors, BSTTW Representatives, and together they make sound decisions.

Cheryl Nichols: Vice President

In 1971 Cheryl graduated and went to college for nursing. After college she continued her education becoming an EMT, an Endocrinology nurse, Medical Chart Auditor, Dog Obedience Trainer/Instructor and acquired a diploma in Fitness and Nutrition.


She was a professional Dog Breeder for a few years in Colorado before coming back to Texas to retire. In the early 1970’s she suffered 1st and 2nd degree grease burns to both forearms. After learning about BSTTW she decided to become a member of the Burn Survivors Throughout The World, Inc. Board of Directors. Cheryl is hoping to use her talents and knowledge to help the burn survivor community and educate the public worldwide.

Jody Jordan: Secretary

Jody's brother-in-law, who was a quadriplegic, was home alone when a fire started in his home back in 2017. Unfortionately he passed away in the fire. As a family member this touched Jody emotionally. She understands the emotionaly trauma that relates to a burn injury. That helped Jody to become a BSTTW Volunteer and decid to join the BSTTW Board of Directors in order to help others.




Cindy Valavanis: Member at Large

Back in 1971, about three weeks before Cindy became twelve years old, Cindy and her brother decided to make some butter in a small metal measuring cup on the electric stove. Cindy's sister
warned them that this is very dangerous and should not be done. But Cindy and her brother did not listen and melted the butter. Within seconds Cindy's life changed forever. Cindy's hair towel and the arm of her bathrobe Cindy was wearing caught on fire. She suffered 33 1/3% deep 3rd and 4th degree burns which needed 3 reconstructive surgeries to correct. We went to my neighbor who took us to my other neighbor that instructed sister to get blanket to wrap me in and took me to Hempstead General Hospital where there was no burn unit b/c she didn't know how to get to Nassau University Medical Center (aka Meadowbrook Hospital). Cindy had to take a shower to get as much fabric off me as possible and by the time the shower was completed the paramedics arrived and she was rushed by ambulance to the burn unit.

After being in the burn unit for over two months Cindy was released and came home for Christmas. She was so happy to be home but was dealing with the burn scars and the loss of her ears. Cindy was able to hear but most of her ears were burned away. With a lot of help from her family and friends Cindy grew up and dealt with the life of a burn survivor.

Anyone who is interested in being interviewed for the BSTTW Board of Directors should fill out the BSTTW Volunteer E-Form and submit it. You can find the BSTTW Volunteer E-Form at http://www.burnsurvivorsttw.org/volunteer/volunteer.html. Michael Appleman, CEO of BSTTW will reply to your request within 72 hours of receiving the BSTTW Volunteer E-Form.