Burn survivor and celebrity J.R. Martinez made room in his busy schedule for an event, organization, and collection of individuals that have impacted his life significantly. Martinez addressed the several hundred attendees of the Phoenix Society’s World Burn Congress, an annual conference of burn survivors, health care professionals, and others impacted by burn injury.
The Dancing with the Stars winner spoke candidly with the community to which he has such a palpable connection, and was awarded with the Phoenix Society’s inaugural Advocacy award, recognizing his efforts on behalf of the burn community.
A board member of the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, Martinez recalled his first World Burn Congress event five years after suffering his burn injury.
“I saw a lobby full of a burn survivors, including children and adults,” said J.R. “It actually shocked me a for a moment. Five years after my injury, it allowed me to feel more secure — knowing I wasn’t alone … and that’s what the Phoenix Society does.”
J.R.’s message was simple: every burn survivor has a voice.
“I hope you understand that you have a voice, and that it’s important to speak, and to tell your story,” he said.
Added J.R. to those in attendance: “Know that whether I’m doing motivational speaking, or something in entertainment, acting — whatever I do, I am representing all of you.”
Before leaving to a standing ovation, J.R. also shared some wisdom to those on their personal journey with a burn injury.
“If you try to check-in four bags at the airport, they will tell you that you have to leave some behind because the plane cannot carry such a heavy load,” he said. “You have to leave some luggage behind. If you don’t, the plane will be too heavy and you will never reach your destination.”
Martinez remained in the event’s ballroom after his speech, signing autographs for each attendee.
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.