Burn Survivors Throughout The World, Inc.

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.

You can contact Michael by email at Michael Appleman

Gary Graham: Vice President

Prior to suffering a burn injury Gary used to be a sponsored Motorcycle Roadracer (3 mile track with a top speed of 175 MPH). One day he came into the pit for refueling. When they dumped fuel in the tank it overflowed ran over and down his legs and a bit on his arm. When the fuel hit the red hot titanium pipes it ignited and caused Gary to suffer a severe burn injury.

After going through the healing process Gary noticed the Hospital didn't provide any information relating to what to expect, so he looked on the internet and didn't find anything. That go Gary thinking about starting the worlds first Peer Support Website for Burn Survivors called Burn Survivors Online (now closed down) otherwise known as BSO and ran that site until it was sold. Gary helped so many burn survivors and family members with BSO.

Gary is also a Disabled Veteran with 18 years of service.

Gary's favorate quote is "Everything gets better with time".

You can contact Gary by email at Gary Graham.

Kathleen Kerr: Secretary

Kathleen is a Speech Language Pathologist working at University of Texas Medical Branch as the Assistant Director of Speech Pathology and a Assistant Clinical Professor of Health Sciences and a clinical focus on acute care. She has over 25 years of experience in the field and has been working with patients with burns for 8 years. Kathleen is interest in the comprehensive care of burn survivors and how we can use a wider band of support for rehabilitation and care. She has a special interest in cost efficient and effective treatments that can be used globally. Kathleen is honored to volunteer for BSTTW and hopes to use this platform to grow personally and professionally.

You can contact Kathleen by email at Kathleen Kerr.

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.

You can contact Cindy by email at Cindy Valavanis

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 https://www.burnsurvivorsttw.org/volunteer/volunteer.html. A BSTTW Representative will reply to your request within 72 hours of receiving the BSTTW Volunteer E-Form.

You can contact the BSTTW Board of Directors at board@burnsurvivorsttw.org.