In early 2005 the Beard family traveled to Thailand to attend a conference.
During that trip, Colin’s father, Michael, took Colin for a short ride on a scooter they had rented for the week. Colin, who was about six years old at the time, was riding on the back of the scooter when his foot slipped off the foot peg and into the back wheel. The wheel jerked his shoe off and pulled his foot in, wedging it between the wheel and the red hot muffler. Michael pulled over immediately and tried to release his son's foot. Thankfully, a number of Thai people came by with tools and started taking the muffler apart. It took almost five minutes to free his son's foot. Colin suffered 3rd and 4th degree burns to his leg and ankle. In some places, especially around his ankle, all of the flesh had been burned away, exposing his tendons and bones.
Michael and Colin were driven to a local hospital where Colin received a few debridement surgeries. Approximately one week later, Colin was evacuated to the Grossman Burn Center in California. Colin spent several weeks in the Grossman burn unit and had several surgeries. Colin was struggling emotionally and wasn’t eating due to the trauma he experienced in the Thai hospital. The professional staff at Grossman helped Colin work through the trauma and he eventually became friends with all the nurses, the medical photographer, the play therapist, the director of the burn center, and his physical therapist.
Despite the extent of his injuries, Colin only has fond memories of the Grossman Burn Center. In fact, because of his experience at the Grossman Burn Center, Colin has decided to pursue a career in nursing and pay it forward by caring for patients. Colin is seventeen years old and is headed into his final exams of his senior year at United National International School in Hanoi. He was recently accepted at Azusa Pacific University where he plans to attend in the fall!
Congratulations Colin, your passion and perseverance sends a powerful message to those who suffer a burn injury: you can choose to be a burn survivor and not a burn victim.