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Grand Rapids, Michigan, April 23, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, the leading national non-profit dedicated to empowering burn survivors, has joined the global movement for Face Equality. As a founding member of Face Equality International, an alliance of organizations that support and represent people with disfigurements, Phoenix Society will be leading the first Face Equality campaign in the United States. In an effort to advocate for awareness and acceptance of people with physical differences, Phoenix Society will be recognizing Face Equality Week from May 17 – May 24, 2019.
While Phoenix Society has long been advocating for acceptance with many of their previous campaigns, Face Equality Week will focus on the idea that people with unusual facial appearances have equal value in society and that they deserve equal respect. From May 17 to May 24, Phoenix Society will be highlighting numerous burn survivors and their unique stories. The organization will also be using this time to address statistics surrounding the issues of bullying, education or employment discrimination, media bias, and confidence.
“A vital step in any burn survivor’s recovery is accepting their changed appearance and gaining confidence in social situations. For many, this is a long, difficult journey – but it doesn’t have to be,” said Amy Acton, Executive Director of Phoenix Society. “We are proud to be a founding member of Face Equality International, an exciting step toward elevating people with scars and facial conditions. Together, we can reduce bias and promote acceptance on a global scale.”
The campaign for “face equality” was originally launched in May 2008 by Changing Faces, UK’s leading charity for people with a visible difference. As the campaign has attracted worldwide attention, the newly-formed Face Equality International took shape, with Phoenix Society leading efforts in the United States. The campaign calls on individuals, educators, employers, the media, advertisers, politicians, and more to create a global culture in which everyone with facial differences is valued.
This week-long campaign will bring together the burn community in a united message surrounding the importance of face equality. Phoenix Society advocates and burn survivors are speaking out on the importance of this movement.
“My facial differences have made going to school, work, and social events exhausting” said Michelle Lauren, Phoniex Society Fellow and Peer Mentor for the Young Adult Workshop. “Just because my face is different and I have scars does not mean I am not equal. I, just like everyone else, have career goals, dreams, and fun adventures, but, unfortunately, the first thing people see is my differences.”
“Looking different is never an easy thing. I can’t even begin to explain how many times I’ve shed tears because someone tried to tell me that looking different wasn’t ‘normal’”, said Rachel Anderson, Phoenix Society Fellow and Digital Communications Coordinator. “We are all beautiful, and Face Equality Week is a great time to celebrate the beauty of our differences.”
John O’Leary, burn survivor and author of the #1 national bestselling On Fire, is also standing in support of Face Eqaulity Week. "Having lived through extreme tragedy, I understand firsthand the importance and power of people supporting one another,” said O’Leary. “Face Equality Week is a great time to celebrate those with differences and to inspire everyone to live their best lives, no matter what might be standing in their way."
Understanding that there is a growing need for long-term burn recovery resources and the common experience of feeling alone during an often long recovery, Phoenix Society has built a community that supports lifelong healing for burn survivors. Since 1977, the organization has developed a variety of national programs that help promote healing physically, emotionally and socially.
For more information on Phoenix Society’s history, the Face Equality Week campaign, and current programs, visit www.phoenix-society.org.
About Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors
In the U.S., 40,000 people are hospitalized with burn injuries each year. Burn survivors and their loved ones face a lifelong journey of physical, emotional, and social recovery. Connecting with others who have walked a similar path is essential for optimal recovery and social reintegration. Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors is the leading national non-profit dedicated to empowering burn survivors and their families at all points of recovery. Since 1977, Phoenix Society has worked with survivors, families, healthcare professionals, and first responders to support burn recovery, improve the quality of burn care, and prevent burn injuries. For more information, visit www.phoenix-society.org.
Emily Potts Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors 6168856253 firstname.lastname@example.org