Pediatric burn survivors learn to love themselves, scars and all

Local organization brings children strength, confidence after recovery

SAN ANTONIO – They have survived traumatizing burns, gone through surgeries and physical therapy.

After all of that they have to learn to live with their scars.

An organization and community in the Texas Hill Country has shown children that their differences are their strengths.

"When I was just a few weeks shy of my third birthday, my mom and I got hurt in a propane explosion at our house. I was burned 48 percent, in the hospital for one month," Jaclyn White, a 27-year-old burn survivor, said.

"When I was 6, I was playing in the kitchen with my brother and he had accidentally bumped the stove and the water fell on my arm and my face and the side of my stomach," said 14-year-old burn survivor Chaciti McMorris.

Their stories are different, but White and McMorris are very much the same. They love who they are, scars and all.

"I can't hide my burns. I was burned 48 percent so it's not like I can hide it and pretend everything's 'normal' so that was actually a blessing in disguise that I couldn't hide. I had to be brave and be confident," White said.

Not every burn survivor is able to achieve that, especially so early on.

"I would hear people's stories of bullying and saying mean things about their scars, or just horrible things. A lot of people go through hard stuff," White said.

That's why the Texas Burn Survivor Society mobilized, offering financial and emotional help to families and most importantly, creating Camp David. It's a yearly summer camp just for burn survivors.

"Once you get there you all just instantly become like a family," McMorris said smiling.

"You can talk to them and cry with them and they understand, so that's the biggest thing, the community, not being alone," White said.

White hopes sharing her story will expand that community beyond burn survivors, inviting everyone to include each other, learn about each other and accept each other for who they truly are.

White and her mom are teachers. Chaciti is a dancer.

The 23rd annual Camp David for burn survivors and their family members is from July 15 - 21. It's held at the Texas Lions Camp in Kerrville with an average of 60 campers.

About the Author:

Courtney Friedman is a KSAT anchor and reporter. She has an ongoing series called Loving in Fear, confronting Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She's also covered Hurricane Harvey, the shootings in Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe, and tornadoes throughout Texas. She’s a California native and proud Longhorn who loves calling SA home.