Burn survivor creates blankets to offer hope to others
WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (AP) — Twelve years ago, Linda Palmer was given a 40 percent chance to live after over 60 percent of her body was ravaged by burns in a gasoline explosion.
But Linda contends that she is not a victim, nor is anyone in a similar situation.
“Victims are in the ashes,” she says. “We rise from the flames. We are a phoenix. We are burn survivors.”
But Palmer knows from her experience that the recovery process can be wrenchingly difficult. “It is a lifelong battle mentally, psychologically,” she said. “Physically, we heal, but being a burn survivor is a lifelong journey.”
That’s why Palmer and her 10-year-old son, Jack, recently launched a nonprofit, Blankets for Burn Survivors, to help survivors cope.
They create cut-and-tie fleece blankets and deliver them to survivors at the Connecticut Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital, where Palmer was treated.
Palmer came up with the idea after returning home from the burn center to find a package from her aunt, which included a blanket.
“When I wrapped the blanket around me, I felt love, I felt secure, and I felt like somebody cared, so I’m figuring I can give that same hope and courage and love to somebody who’s in the predicament I was in 12 years ago,” she said.
Palmer and Jack, whom she describes as her “miracle” after her accident, even have a special ritual in order to imbue the blankets with as much love as possible.
“As we are tying them, we say, ‘I love you, get well,’” she says, adding that every knot represents one of their good wishes.
Thus far, Palmer’s approach has worked, both for recent survivors’ healing process and for her own.
“It’s been great,” she says. “Just the smile you get when you wrap it around them and tell them to get well. That’s all I need. That fills my heart with love.”
Blankets for Burn Survivors is affiliated with the Phoenix Society, an international organization for burn survivors that holds an annual conference with an attendance of about 1,000. Palmer said she hopes to raise enough money to completely fund a fellow survivor’s attendance at the conference.
Information from: Journal Inquirer, http://www.journalinquirer.com