Sunday, May 25, 2008

On the day before Memorial Day : Merlin's Miracles

Marine Merlin German was burned over 97% of his body in Iraq and was dubbed the Miracle Man by doctors. He underwent three years of surgeries on his body, before passing away from complications from a surgical procedure.

Those are the facts. The truth is that when you read about Merlin, what you start to realize is that during his life, he positively affected the lives of many around him. Hospital staff members and other patients talk about his positive attitude despite the pain and difficulty of the procedures he constantly underwent. And then, of course, there's the foundation he left for children with burn injuries - Merlin's Miracles. He created this fund in order that children who are burn survivors could realize their dreams and live well after having a burn injury.

On this day before Memorial Day, I'd like to feature Merlin's Miracles as a way to honor the positive attitude this young man showed which teaches all of us that we can reach out and help others, no matter what our circumstances.

On this Memorial Day, we not only honor those who have died, but think of those who survive with injuries and disabilities. Burn injuries aren't often discussed. Many of our vets are getting burn injuries because of IEDs. These injuries can result in difficulties when out in public due to disfiguration. Plastic surgery can help, but since the skin stretches, there is a limit to what it can do. Burn injuries can also result in loss of function - e.g. Merlin lost his fingers due to burns. The number of surgeries required after burn injuries can take years and, of course, a myriad of other health issues can arise, leaving the families and loved ones in need of a great deal of support.

All of these experiences are important for the rest of us to know and understand, so that when we meet a burn survivor (for yes they are survivors!) and/or his/her family , we can be open to their presence in our lives.

Please take a moment to visit Merlin's Miracles, say a prayer, buy a t shirt, donate - whatever your heart moves you to do and your wallet can bear.

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