Where no burn survivor is left behind
and no firefighter forgotten...
The Ryan Shines Burn Foundation
is dedicated to the healing of
pediatric burn survivors and firefighters.
We do this through
recognizing and promoting
the special bond between them.
We spend the year organizing events for the
survivors, firefighters, and their families.
Who is Ryan?
Many people ask us, “Who is Ryan?” Ryan was an energetic little boy who wore his heart on his T-shirt sleeve. He lived from the inside out. Sometimes when the two of us would go shopping, I would see his little heart of love explode like fireworks over a group of complete strangers.
I know this sounds impossible but here was a seven-year-old who was born knowing what matters most in life. And, for him, it was “people;” especially people who were having a hard time. That was just Ryan’s radar.
That’s just who Ryan is. I say “is” instead of “was” because he is obviously present and my partner in everything.
In a way, he left his mark on Ryan Shines Burn Foundation. It is built on his life and his death.
He left us sooner than we ever thought he would. In 2001, our family was involved in an automobile fire that took his life. Our 7-year-old, Ryan, was gone and the fire left my husband, our 2-year old, Tyler, and me with burns over 25% of our bodies.
Sometimes when I get lost in his absence, I have to remind myself that if Ryan had survived, he would have had to endure endless surgeries, a life of pain and stares and cruel name-calling.
OUR EVERYDAY HEROES SAY
"You know why I love spending time with these pediatric survivors? I don’t see their scars, and I treat them like the regular kids they are.
In return, they are helping me forget the things I need to forget.”
"After I left yesterday I felt so alive and know deep inside your mission is where I am supposed to be. Being able to help the kids aong with helping my brother and sister first responders would be so unbelievable. I am so in."
"The boy was my boy’s age. There was nothing the kid could do to help himself, and nothing that I could do for him.
There are some things you just can’t unsee. So me hanging out with these kids is healing for me too, and healing with them is an indescribable feeling."