Celebrating Survivors: Cindy Rutter

Celebrating the amazing stories of burn survivors that are often untold, today we’re profiling Cindy Rutter, a burn survivor, nurse, advocate and volunteer for the Phoenix Society in multiple programs …

After surviving a house fire in 1959 at the age of 6, Cindy Rutter underwent over 100 surgeries before her eighteenth birthday with injuries suffered to her face, arms, torso, legs and back. Using her personal experience as a burn survivor, Cindy has made countless contributions to the burn community, encouraging the enthusiasm for life that she demonstrates every day. Cindy has been a role model and inspiration to women of all ages. She has demonstrated through example that you can be a beautiful woman with a successful career.

Cindy has aided burn survivors clinically with her role as a medical professional, serving as a bedside nurse and Burn Center nurse manager, instilling a sense of hope, renewal, and possibility after burn injury to hundreds of patients and their families. Beyond her duties as a nurse, she has been involved with the Phoenix Society, serving on the National Advisory Committee for the SOAR (Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery) peer support recovery program and teaching peer support training in both Canada and the United States.

“As a nurse I recognize the importance of the psycho social component of burn care and the Phoenix Society gives survivors this piece,” said Cindy. “Without this part I don’t believe there can be full recovery.”

She also helped start a volunteer advocacy program for the Phoenix Society, organizing and training people to assist in spread the word about fire safety, burn prevention, and the need for support for burn survivors everywhere.

“Without the Phoenix Society, I think many burn survivors would be lost,” she said. “I am very grateful that I have been given the opportunity to be involved and participate in many of the wonderful programs offered.”

For her efforts, Cindy has been given the prestigious honors of California Nurse of the Year (2000), the San Diego Chargers Community Quarterback Award (2002), and was recognized as a “Remarkable Woman” by Redbook Magazine.

At the 2011 World Burn Congress, Cindy shared the Breslau Award with fellow burn survivor Dennis Gardin.

For more information on Phoenix Society programs, including profiles on other burn survivors, please visit our web site at: http://www.phoenix-society.org/

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