The committee was formed in 2007 to ensure the continuation of the Canadian Burn Survivors Conference. The committee will approach potential conference hosts, assist with conference planning, and maintain a mailing list of conference attendees. Committee members are from across Canada and are associated with the burn community in a variety of ways.

If you would like more information about the steering committee or wish to contact a member please email:

Barbara Anne Hodge


Chair of the Board of Directors

Barbara-Anne Hodge is an Occupational Therapist who worked at the Health Sciences Centre Burns and Plastics Unit in Winnipeg, Manitoba for 28 years. In the course of her work, she came to know many burn survivors who struggled with the changes in their appearance and daily life due to their injuries. She is one of the founding members of the Mamingwey Burn Survivor Society in Manitoba in 2003.

Michelle Escamilla Valladares

Michelle Escamilla

Burn Survivor & Co-Chair of the Board of Directors

Originally from London, Ontario, Michelle is a Latina-Canadian woman and a burn survivor of over 20 years.  She describes herself as resilient and openly shares with others her journey. Her gratitude and passion for life have inspired her to pursue opportunities of motivational speaking to a variety of audiences. She has spoken about confidence, self-love, and self-care.

With a professional background in child development, education, public administration, and most recently social work, she aims to raise the overall quality of life for others through community resources and supports. Michelle is SOAR certified and has worked with related agencies such as The Phoenix Society, Shriners Hospital for Children, and the Children’s Burn Foundation. 

Deborah Ward



Deborah Ward burned at the age of 7 years old, 70 % body coverage, 3rd degree burns. Deborah spent 6 1/2 months in hospital at first, out for a month and back in for 5 1/2 months, at a time when induced comas’ were not heard of. Over the years she has had so many grafts and releases, it is impossible to count. Deborah has 54 years experience as a burn survivor. Deborah is President of the Nova Scotia Burn Support Group as well as Secretary/Treasurer for the Canadian Burn Survivors Conference Steering Committee. Deborah is a new published author of her biography “Silently Weeping” Deborah is President of the Avon Boat Club and a foster parent of 4 boys with special needs. Deborah is active in visiting patients in the Burn Unit at the QE11 Health Sciences Centre (Halifax Infirmary) and an active participant in the Burn Camp (Camp Connect) for burned children and adults sponsored by the Nova Scotia Firefighters Burn Treatment Society.

Don Adamson


Burn Survivor & Board of Director Member

Don Adamson has been a burn survivor for 9 years.  He still works in the Aviation Industry but volunteers a lot in his spare time to the Calgary Fire Department helping teach fire safety and making wise choices when around fire to schoolchildren.

Don is a member of the Phoenix Society and a S.O.A.R. Peer Supporter of burn patients in the Calgary Firefighters Burn Treatment Centre.  Since his injury, Don has been involved with the Calgary Burn Support Group as an organizer and a Survivor.  Don has attended many Phoenix Society World Burn Conferences across North America.  Don has been an influential part of the Canadian Burn Survivors Community and hosted the 2012 Canadian Burn Survivors Conference in Calgary.  Don recently took part as a panellist for a Special Interest Group Presentation at the American Burn Association in Boston on “Returning to Work after a Burn Injury”.  He looks forward to working with the ABA in the future.  Don has a special place in his heart for all Firefighters and likes raising money with the Calgary Firefighters Burn Treatment Society who not only support the local Burn Community, Alberta Children’s Burn Camp and much more, but leading edge research for new skin growth in Burn Patients.  Don has addressed many graduating classes of Nurses and Firefighters and has encouraged them to get involved in the “Burn Community”.

Andrew Ward


Board of Director Member



Andrew ward is the child of a burn survivor. With over 30 years quietly supporting his mother, Andrew has become an intricate part of the burn community by offering support to family and loved ones affected by the trauma of burns. In 2007 Andrew received his Diploma in Business Administration with a focus in Marketing. With this designation Andrew has been able to offer support in maintaining Canadian Burn Survivor Community’s s web site, designed the logo for the CBSC and has made recommendations in development in technology. Andrew is an active member of the Nova Scotia Burn Support Group.

Ashley Wilson


 Burn Survivors & Board of Director Member

Ashley Wilson is a burn survivor and a recent graduate of the University of Winnipeg. She has been involved with the Manitoba Firefighter Burn Camp for the past 5 years as a counselor. Additionally, she has served as a board member of the Mamingwey Burn Survivors Society in Manitoba for the past three years, working on their annual Burn Survivor Conference program, as well as fundraising for the society. Lastly, she is a board member of the Canadian Burn Survivor Community.

Martin Johnson


 FireFighter & Board of Director Member

Martin Johnson is a retired Platoon Chief, having served 41 years with the Winnipeg Fire Department. He is a co-founder of the Firefighters Burn Fund of Manitoba (1978), currently serving as Chairman. He is also a member of the Mamingwey Burn Survivor Society, the American Burn Association, and is a retired member in good standing with the United Firefighters of Winnipeg. He is the recipient of several awards such as the Meritorious Service Medal(Fire) with 2 bars, Queen Elizabeth 11 Gold and Diamond Jubilee anniversary medals, the Joe Hickey Award from the Phoenix Society, the John A. Moncrief award from the American Burn Association, the Mary Beth Dolin Award and the Order of Manitoba.

Mike Cook


 Burn Survivor & Board of Director Member

Mike Cook sustained burns to 17% of his body from the waist up while trying to light a charcoal barbeque at a Scout Camp in 1998. He spent 17 dyas in the Burn Unit at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, BC. He required skin graphs to his right shoulder, bicep and rib cage. In 1999/2000 following attendance at the World Burn Conference hosted by the Phoenix Society he played a lead role in the information of the Peer Support Group as sponsored by the Firefighters Burn Fund of Victoria. They have been trained to provide peer support to survivors and family members to assist in their recovery following a burn injury. Mike continues to serve the Firefighters Burn Fund Peer Support Group in the role of treasurer and Director with the Victoria Conference committee for the upcoming Burn Survivors Conference being held in June 2014.

Kim Sutherland


Burn Survivor & Board of Director Member

As a Burn survivor, Kim is passionate about burn injury prevention and advocating on behalf of burn patients.  She has been on the Board of the Canadian Burn Survivors Community since 2014, and is a current Co-Chair and a founding member of the Saskatchewan Burn Support Network.  Kim works closely with the Saskatchewan Professional Fire Fighters Burn Fund and the Saskatoon Fire Department, and was recognized for this work with the 2016 Shield Award. Kim is proud to be an owner/operator of a family construction business.  Kim volunteers much of her time in the construction industry, sitting on many association boards and committees in Saskatchewan.  


Kyle Hynes

Burn Survivor & Board of Director Member

Kyle Hynes has been a Burn Survivor since 1998. Kyle was in a house fire at the age of 5 years old, caused by an electrical fire. 89% of this his body was burned.


Over the years Kyle had been back-and-forth to the Shriners Hospital in Boston to get skin graphs and reconstruction surgery. 


His journey helping other Burn Survivors started a year after his accident, while in the hospital Kyle had a little office set up in the hospital playroom to welcome other children to help them overcome their burns.


Kyle is a very positive person and eager to help other Burn Survivors with their new begging as a Burn Survivor.  

SOAR certified (Peer Support) 

Heather Lynn Beveridge.jpg

Heather Lynn Beveridge

Heather Lynn Beveridge is a medical Social Worker.  She has worked with burn survivors and their families for the past 20 years in both a pediatric hospital, and pediatric burn camps.  She began her career on the burn unit at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.  In 2009, she relocated to British Columbia to pursue a PhD at the University of British Columbia.  She works full time as the patient services coordinator for the BC Professional Firefighters’ (BCPFF) burn fund.  She continues to be the camp social worker at Camp BUCKO in Ontario as well as burn camp in BC.  She is part of the organizing committee for the Canadian Burn Survivors Conference being hosted by the BCPFF Burn Fund in May 2020.

John Westhaver


Burn Survivor & Board of Director Member

At the age of 18, John was involved in a vehicle crash that left him with burns to 75% of his body and took the lives of three of his friends. John moved to Victoria, BC from St. Stephen, NB in 2000. This is where he was introduced to his first peer support group. 


John has been involved with the Peer Support Group for Burn Survivors Victoria, BC since 2001 and is now the Co-chair of this group along with Michael Cook. He is S.O.A.R. trained by the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors. John and the support group works closely with the staff at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, BC to support patients who have experienced burn traumas. Alongside a retired nurse, John coordinates the Burn Awareness Week activities put on by the Firefighters Burn Fund Victoria, BC. He also serves on the board of directors of the Firefighters Burn Fund Victoria, BC.  


Currently, John works full-time as a Professional Speaker and he has been speaking to high schools for 16 years on Road Safety and motivation. Johnis passionate about making the difference in the world that will last the test of time. He is on a mission to help people understand the power of personally responsible in all areas of life. John has an extraordinary life and is committed that others not only see that they can have an awesome life but he helps them take actions that will have then obtain that life. 

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