by Nate Caminata
When asked what the one impact he would like to have at the Phoenix Society’s World Burn Congress, Kyle Maynard’s responded with his favorite quote: “Go to bed with a dream, wake up with a purpose.”
Explained Kyle, “It would be an opportunity to invite someone who has recently had an injury, or even one years ago … to wake up and connect to that dream that might have been left on the backburner, thought to have never been reached because of a circumstance outside of their control.”
On Thursday, Maynard helped launch the Phoenix Society’s 24th annual World Burn Congress in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with a scintillating and commanding keynote speech.
Born with a condition known as congenital amputation that has left him with arms that end at the elbows and legs that end near his knees, Maynard’s “No Excuses” speech resonated with the captivated audience
Maynard acknowledged during an interview with the Phoenix Society that although it was the first time he’s spoken to an audience of burn survivors, his message was applicable.
“I’ve had more of a similar experience in terms of the more internal, emotional side that a burn survivor has gone through, including dealing with the looks, stares and questions, and people not knowing how to handle someone with a visual disability,” said Kyle.
“Realistically, every person on the planet has some kind of disability to deal with – and sometimes things are more internal, that we never see, and sometimes far more debilitating than that on the outside.”
The 26-year old Maynard said it’s up to the individual to move forward, regardless of the circumstances or the cards that have been dealt – acknowledging it isn’t always easy.
“It’s an element of choice, and it’s a very hard choice to make, but that choice is whether or not we’re going to allow or accept a limited life or capacity as a result of an injury,” he said.
Maynard paid credit to the Phoenix Society and the its World Burn Congress event as purposeful tools to fulfill that dream.
“I think it’s really powerful the message of the Phoenix Society about moving forward and continuing one step at a time; there is power behind incremental growth and change,” he said. “It’s accepting the fact we’re not going to be happy 365 days a year, but it’s about not staying in that place, and using opportunities like the Phoenix Society’s World Burn Congress, and the little things that happen that make us appreciate the life we have, and using it as a tool to keep moving forward.”
The Phoenix Society’s World Burn Congress is an annual conference involving burn survivors, health care professionals, firefighters, and anyone affected by a burn injury. The Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors is the only national nonprofit that provides the tools and resources to help burn survivors get back to living.