TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The Arizona Burn Foundation is teaming up with the Tucson Fire Department to bring their services to the Tucson area. Up until now, the services were only being offered in Phoenix.
The CEO of the foundation, Rex Albright, explains why it’s such an important service saying, “what we work with is the family members to make sure right at that crisis moment, to make sure they understand, there’s going to be help. They’re going to be okay. There are going to be opportunities for you to heal.”
Burn survivor Gayle Petrillo says she was burned as a toddler back in 1956. 40 percent of her body was burned and at the time, Petrillo and her parents didn’t have the support they needed.
"Burn survivors typically go through PTSD. We tend to isolate. We tend to be really shy and ashamed and guilty with what we’ve been through, so we tend to hide. I did not come out of hiding until this year,” Petrillo said.
Petrillo has spent most of her life dealing with her experience.
“I grew up believing I was different from everyone else, disfigured, even though you can’t necessarily see my burns," she said. "I saw myself as I see it, not as other people see me.”
Now she will be able to receive the support she needs to heal.
“It’s knowing you’re not alone and that there are other people that have struggled with the same things you’ve struggled with.”
The subject is such a big part of her life, Petrillo has even published her own book.
“What I’m finding is as I share my story, I’m healing more than I was before," Petrillo said. "And it enables other people to share their story."
The Arizona Burn Foundation will provide Petrillo along with other Tucsonan’s therapy, support, and so much more.
They are holding their first event with the help of TFD. On Saturday, October 2, they will be installing free smoke alarms around town.
They are always looking for volunteers. To get involved visit azburn.org.