Please read my mom's story below:
"My name is Cindy Jackson and I am the founder of Burn Care International. During the holidays of 2001, God orchestrated events in my life that would change me forever. In an accident at our home in Bolivia, South America, I was seriously burned with third degree burns on over 35% of my body and subsequently spent the next two years wearing pressure clothing and undergoing rehabilitation. Everything about our life came to a halt on that day and we spent quite a lot of time trying to find normalcy again over the next months.
Until that experience, I had only been exposed to burns once on a visit to the public hospital in Bolivia and what I saw that day was enough to prevent me from ever returning. I had no previous knowledge of burn treatment and was shocked when Dr. Mullins at the Augusta Burn Center told me that the healing process for burns was very slow and that I would have to wear a tight fitting pressure suit for the next 1-2 years as part of my treatment. I thought he must be crazy.
Unfortunately, he was not crazy and I did have to wear the suit for two years. I tried every possible way to get out of wearing the suit and sewed quite a few variations of my suit hoping to find a better solution but over the course of the first year came to understand that nothing I could do was going to make the process any quicker or the suit any simpler and I began to be a compliant patient studying and learning about every product, crème, exercise, etc… on the internet or in books. I am thankful for what I was able to learn about burns during this time because I know that God was preparing me for a ministry I could have never invented on my own strength.
Five months after the accident, our family returned to Bolivia to continue our ministry and for me to continue my healing process. Several weeks later I unknowingly began what was to eventually become BCI when I visited a teenager that was seriously burned and had been in the public hospital for eight months. What I saw that day made me physically and emotionally ill. While I had received the best care that money could buy, she had basically received nothing. She was pitiful to say the least and was destined to be a cripple with horrible scars. Before I could barely help her, she was released from the hospital and sent home. I never knew what happened to her but it started a fire in me that kept me going back. Not long after that I began to visit the public hospital for burned children donating every thing I could get my hands on and donating all my old suits to be made into new suits for the kids. It was a pitiful drop in the bucket of what needed to be done.
Over the next two years I continued to visit the burn center but I knew that I need a bigger vision for what needed to be done. When we returned to the states in 2004, I began my paperwork to open Burn Care International, Inc., a non-profit, tax exempt 501 c-3 corporation dedicated to improving the lives of burn victims in developing countries around the world. In the summer of 2005, we opened our first office in Cochabamba, Bolivia right in the same building as the public hospital for burned children, hired a director and a seamstress and opened our doors. It was definitely a case of the blind leading the blind in the beginning but the Lord blessed this ministry in a way that I would have not thought possible and the results are shown in the lives that have been helped.
By the end of the first year, we had helped over 290 burned children in our small two room clinic. Since that first summer, not every one has been compliant and we have had our share of disappointments but for the parents who have understood the importance of the process and have obeyed our request to have their child wear the pressure suit 23 hours a day, attend physical therapy, keep the skin and the clothing clean, eat a nutritious diet and moisturize daily, we have seen fantastic results.
The good news that I have learned is that the difference between horrible scarring and decent healing in most cases can be pretty basic and cheap. A good seamstress, a $20/yard roll of fabric with zippers, thread, and elastic, basic silicone inserts and sponges, crèmes and lotions, good hygiene and nutrition, common sense on the part of the staff and daily physical therapy are the necessary ingredients to a successful pressure therapy treatment.
Burn Care International, Inc recognizes that most of the suffering and physical deformities from burns in poor countries around the world could be prevented with education and training in pressure therapy. The process is not quick but it is effective and can be done by a staff with basic medical training and a good seamstress with a serger and basic sewing machine. BCI is dedicated to training willing medical workers in poor countries around the world how to work with burn patients so that they have the opportunity to heal properly and return to a normal life.
I truly believe that God allowed me to be burned so that I would see the needs around me and to be able to speak from experience about burns. It is my prayer that BCI can make a difference in the lives of burn patients around the world. If you would like more information about how to support this ministry, if you would like a speaker at an event to share the ministry of BCI, or if your organization offers medical care as a ministry in developing countries and you would like more information about burn education and pressure therapy training, please contact me."
Happy Mother's Day!!!