Growth After Burn Recovery: Lyla’s Story

Posted on Apr 5, 2023 in Camp

At just two years old, Lyla suffered significant burn injuries after a metal coffee urn spilled over her at a church event, scalding 26% of her body. Lyla was rushed to the nearest hospital. Her condition was stabilized before being transferred to UPMC Mercy Burn Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Thanks to the care and support provided by the burn nurses, medical staff, family, and friends, Lyla fully recovered from her injuries. However, as Lyla grew older, she struggled with her appearance. The scarring made her feel less confident in social situations. With the help of therapy and participation in Burn Prevention Network’s Camp Susquehanna, Lyla has learned to accept and eventually embrace her scars.

Lyla first came to Camp Susquehanna when she was six years old. Her mother learned about Camp during Lyla’s stay at UPMC Mercy. Camp Susquehanna was a blessing in disguise for Lyla and her family. Coming home after her first camp experience, Lyla made the brave choice to expose the scars she had kept hidden for years.

“Camp Susquehanna helped me a lot. The first year I went, I came home with my hair tied up and immediately started looking in the mirror and decided to cut my hair,” said Lyla. “Camp had a big impact on how I feel about being able to look at myself in the mirror and show and talk about my scars.”

With counselors, Crisis Relief Canines, and fellow campers by her side, Lyla could be herself at Camp Susquehanna. It took time to fully regain her confidence, but Lyla feels more secure in her skin and is proud to be a burn survivor. At just 11 years old, she now embraces her body, scars and all. The Warrior Scar necklace she wears every day has a textured print of her injury, further emphasizing her comfort in her body. Lyla has made great strides in her journey through burn recovery. She credits her progress to her support system and her Camp Susquehanna experience.

“It took us a long time for Lyla to even look at herself in the mirror again because her face was burned. The camp has done so, so much for her. She comes home a different kid every year,” said Christina, Lyla’s mother. “She has shown so much improvement. One year, she came home and decided she was chopping off all her hair because she didn’t care who saw her scars. Camp Susquehanna has been a key aspect of her recovery and growth.”

Her favorite part of camp each year is spending time with other kids like herself. When she’s not at camp, Lyla finds time to visit and connect with other campers with whom she has forged lasting bonds. Along with friends and family, she also enjoys spending time with her cat, Daisy, who survived an injury after being burned by a truck engine.

For more information on Burn Prevention Network and Camp Susquehanna, click here.