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Video: Journey Towards a Positive Self Image

Journey Towards a Positive Self-Image

In this session, speakers explore and discuss the journey toward a positive and inclusive body image.


  • Showing your scars

  • Vulnerability and confidence

  • Dating and coupled relationships

  • Definitions of beauty (in our minds and in the world)



Karen Colligan (moderator), founder and principal of PeopleThink, is a recognized expert in leadership, team effectiveness and organizational development. She partners with organizations in a variety of industries to develop and retain their most precious asset – their people. An active volunteer with the Phoenix Society for many years, Karen is herself a burn survivor.  At age two, she received second and third degree burns from scalding bathroom tap water.  This experience has impacted her entire life, and inspired her to get involved in helping other burn survivors. 

Gabe Harris was involved in a grease fire accident at his home on January 9, 2011, at the age of 16. In which, He experienced a significant amount of 3rd and 2nd degree burns on both of his legs, left arm and left side of his face. After receiving treatment in the NC Jaycee Burn Center at the UNC Health in Chapel Hill, NC, He was later invited to one of the burn center’s after care programs, Camp Celebrate. It was here, that he learned the significance of the burn community, all it had to offer and how he wanted to help. Amongst other after care programs, He has been committed for the past 7 years on never missing a Camp Celebrate.

Cindy Rutter has been an advocate for Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors and involved in the burn community for more than 35 years. She recently completed her master’s degree to become a marriage and family therapist. Cindy has been a burn survivor for 61 years and is the former nurse manager of the burn unit in San Diego.

Blake Tedder and his father survived a plane crash in the mountains of Colorado. At the age of 16, he received burns on 35% of his body and was hospitalized for three months and underwent physical therapy for over a year. The journey through the physical challenges, disfigurement and PTSD associated with his injury, ignited in him a deep desire to heal himself and help others, ultimately leading him to certify as yoga instructor and to later receive a master's degree in Social Work. He has volunteered in many capacities for over a decade with the UNC Jaycee Burn Center's Aftercare Program and the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, among many other organizations. His small Blake Tedder Burn Endowment funds healing initiatives for burn survivors in North Carolina.

Kiki Vo was born in Vietnam and now lives in Oakland, California. She immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 11 after being injured in a house fire when she was 9 yrs old. Engaging in critical self-reflections and vulnerable conversations help Kiki stays resilient. Her professional career serving individuals struggling with homelessness, substance use, and mental health also shapes her positive mindset for life. Kiki has been a participant in the burn community since the age of 14 and is grateful to continue to be an advocate for the community now as a thriving adult survivor.


2024 Journey Magazine - Edition One

Access the first edition of our 2024 Journey Magazine today.

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2023 Phoenix SOAR Annual Report

Download our complete report about the 2023 current state of the burn survivor.

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2023 State of the Survivor Report

Download our complete report about the 2023 current state of the burn survivor.

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