Peer Support

peer support

Types of Peer Support

Peer support comes in many forms. In addition to group support meetings and individual support. Phone peer support is also available and the Phoenix Society offers an online peer support chat every Wednesday evening.

Click Here to Learn More!
peer support

Monthly Support at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Meetings are currently held virtually on the 2nd Tuesday of every month at 6pm.
Find out how to join us on Zoom at the link below!

BSONE Peer Support
peer support

World Burn Congress

Phoenix World Burn Congress (WBC) is an annual, international conference that brings together over 900 burn survivors, their families, caregivers, burn care professionals, and firefighters. People come together to offer support, increase their knowledge of burn recovery, and share inspiring stories.

Learn More About WBC Here!
peer support

Burn Survivors of New England (BSONE)

The BSONE is a nonprofit organization that supports and empowers burn survivors and their families as they build active and engaged lives. Their efforts focus on bringing peer support to burn survivors and their families and they hold several annual events to help bring the burn survivor community together.

peer support

Phoenix Society For Burn Survivors

The Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors is the leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering anyone affected by a burn injury. Through Phoenix SOAR (Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery), World Burn Congress, Phoenix Education Grant, online peer support, and resource library, the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors works to help burn survivors throughout their recovery process.



Photo of Kevin Fitzgerald

Kevin Fitzgerald -

Kevin suffered a 55% third degree burn after a gasoline tanker overturned on the highway. During his time in the hospital, Kevin was visited several times by SOAR members. Upon discharge, Kevin started regularly attending Burn Survivor of New England meetings and events. Since then, Kevin has become SOAR certified by the Phoenix Society. He has also returned to work and is active in his community.
Photo of Karen Labonte

Karen Labonte -

In 2001, Karen was severely burned when flames from an open gas stove caught her maternity blouse on fire. She sustained a third degree burn injury to 50% of her body and was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital. There, Karen gave birth to her son while in a medically induced coma. Following her injury, Karen became a certified SOAR Peer Supporter and attended the Burn Survivors of New England monthly support meetings. She is an avid fundraiser for Burn Survivors of New England and an active member of the Burn Survivors of New England.
Photo of Mylene Larsen

Mylene Larsen -

In 2001, Mylene was brought to MGH after being burned at work. She spent many months recovering at MGH, some of which she was in a coma. Eventually, she was transferred to SRH where she was able to regain her ability to walk and talk. While at MGH, she was visited by a peer supporter who helped both her and her family. They met with her family, talked about what to expect, and encouraged them throughout the process. Their significant help prompted Mylene to become a peer supporter following her recovery. She believes that peer support afforded her a confidence that she didn’t have before and she encourages others to reach out to her if they would like to become involved.
Photo of George Pessotti

George Pessotti -

George was burned in a gasoline explosion at his home in Westford, MA in 1979. He sustained second and third degree burns on 85% of his body. While hospitalized at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Alan Breslau, a burn survivor and founder of the Phoenix Society did a peer support visit. This visit inspired George to dedicate his life to burn survivor causes. Since then, George has served as President of the Phoenix Society Board, and Pro Tem Executive Director. George received the coveted Breslau Award in 2007 and founded Burn Survivors of New England in 2013. His book Reason For Living has been a resource for hospitals and burn survivors alike. George has been married to his wife Joanne for 35 years and has 2 sons and 5 grandchildren. He resides in Nashua, NH.
Photo of Jerry Laperriere

Jerry Laperriere -

In 2010, Jerry sustained third degree burns to his hands and shin after attempting to extinguish Diana, his fiancée. Following his injury, Jerry spent five days in the hospital while Diana began her recovery in the ICU. Though his focus was on Diana’s survival, Jerry struggled with his own physical injury and mental anguish. The support he received from fellow burn survivors and burn care providers inspired Jerry to become a certified SOAR Peer Supporter. Currently, Jerry is an active member of SOAR, gives inspirational talks about overcoming adversity with his fiancée and attends BSONE and World Burn Congress. Jerry is also the proud owner of the Laperriere Group Manufacturers Rep firm where he works to distribute janitorial products throughout the New England area.
Photo of Diana Tenney

Diana Tenney -

In 2010, Diana sustained a third degree burn injury to 91% of her body. She spent over a year recovering at Massachusetts General Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and had over 150 procedures. Through the love and support of her family, friends, and other burn survivors, Diana was able to recover and she now leads an active and purposeful life within the burn survivor community. Diana is a certified Phoenix Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery (SOAR) Peer Supporter and has completed over 120 in-person peer visits at MGH, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and Shriners Hospital for Children-Boston. Currently, she serves on the Burn Survivors of New England Board of Directors, the Boston-Harvard Burn Injury Model System (BHBIMS) Advisory Committee, the BHBIMS Information Dissemination Committee, and the Massage and Burn Scar Therapy Burn Foundation Board. Diana also actively volunteers with the Phoenix Society, American Burn Association, and various other organizations in her hometown, New Bedford, MA.


Understanding a Burn Injury
This fact sheet offers important details about burn injuries to burn patients who are admitted to hospitals. This content may also be helpful to the family members and friends of burn patients.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) After Burn Injury
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after burn injury and common symptoms may occur after burn injury. Learn more about the symptoms and some treatment options for PTSD.
Sleep Problems After Burn Injury
Sleep problems are especially common right after burn injury and during the healing and recovery stages. Insomnia can come and go over the years and may require different solutions at different times. Everyone has a different experience after burn injury, and some of the following information may not apply to you.
Psychological Distress
The purpose of this fact sheet is to describe some of the emotional recovery challenges that patients may face after sustaining a major burn injury.
Understanding and Improving Body Image after Burn Injury
Major burn injuries can change how the body looks and functions and lead to body image distress. Body image is defined as how satisfied, comfortable and confident a person is with his or her appearance.
Managing Pain After Burn Injury
Pain and discomfort are an unfortunate part of burn injury and recovery. Many of our patients tell us that ongoing pain continues to be a problem long after discharge from the hospital.
Social Interaction After Burn Injury
Many burn injury survivors who have had a change in their physical appearance feel anxious about how people will react to them when they leave the hospital and go back into public places. The way people react (verbally and non-verbally) can make it more difficult to feel confident during social interactions. While some burn survivors are not bothered by the reactions of others, you may find it helpful to learn social skills to face these challenges successfully.
Employment After Burn Injury
Returning to work after a burn injury can be an important phase of recovery that helps you return to a routine. Work not only provides you with an income and other benefits, but can also give you a sense of purpose and confidence that is critical in maintaining a higher quality of life.
Scar Management
Burn survivors can become frustrated that they still have issues with scarring after their initial burn injury has healed. Hypertrophic burn scars (raised scars in the area of the original burn) are the most common complication of a burn injury and can limit a survivor’s ability to function as well as affect their body image. It is difficult to predict who will develop scarring. Research shows that less severe burns that heal in less than 14 days generally have no scarring. More severe burns heal in 14 to 21 days and put you at a risk of scarring. Burns that take more than 21 days to heal are at very high risk for scarring and may require skin grafting.
Itchy Skin After Burn Injury
As skin heals from a burn injury, it may get itchy. Almost everyone recovering from major burns has problems with itching—especially on or around the burn, graft, or donor site. The medical term for itchiness is “pruritus” (proo-ri´tus).
Exercise After Burn Injury
A burn injury causes stress to your body. Your heart and lungs may not work as well as before. Your bones may not be as strong. Remember that muscles get weak or smaller when they are not used— being on bed rest probably caused you to lose some muscle. For each day of bed rest people can lose 1% of their muscle.
Healthy Eating After Burn Injury (Adults)
This factsheet is intended to inform people with burn injury and their families about nutrition during hospitalization and after they return home. Burn injury dramatically increases your nutrition needs. The larger the burn size, the more nutrients you need to heal.


Build Childs Resilience After Burn Injury
Recovery from a burn injury can be difficult; however, there are many ways to support children during this process. You can help to build your child’s resiliency after the injury. Resiliency is the ability to overcome challenges and bounce back stronger. You should always consult your child’s medical team at your local burn center for help with these issues.
Return to School After Burn Injury
Going back to school is a very important step in a child’s healing after a burn injury. Learning and being with friends is important to your child’s progress. It is normal for you or your child to feel stress and be worried about going back to school.
Healthy Eating After Burn Injury (Kids)
This factsheet is intended to inform families of children with burn injury about nutrition during hospitalization and after they return home. Your child needs adequate nutrition to grow and develop. Having a burn injury dramatically increases the need for proper nutrition.


Fire and Safety Prevention

peer support

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

The NFPA is a global nonprofit organization that is devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazard. They do so by educating the public about fire safety, acting as advocates, supporting research and training individuals on codes and standards.

National Fire Protection Association
peer support

Department of Fire Services Public Education

The Fire Data and Public Fire Education Unit manages all education programs and provides free technical assistance to local fire departments, health educators, medical and public health professionals, classroom teachers, elder service providers, community and service organizations and others interested in safety education. For further information please call the Public Education Department at (978) 567-3388.

Mass Department of Fire Services
peer support

International Association of Firefighters (IAFF)

The IAFF works to better fire safety, prevention and education. It represents more than 303,000 full-time professional fire fighters and paramedics and is one of the most active lobbying organizations in Washington, DC.

International Association of Firefighters

Disability and Human Resources

Disability Income

Emergency Aid to Elders, Disabled and Children (EAEDC) is a Massachusetts state-funded program that provides cash and medical assistance to needy families and individuals who are not receiving TAFDC, SSI, or other similar benefits. You can go to your local Department of Transitional Assistance to apply in person. Check EAEDC eligibility and how to apply |


Food Assistance


Victim's Compensation


Vocational Rehabilitation


Insurance Programs


Independent Living Centers


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