A burn is a traumatic, disrupting event that can dramatically alter the course of one's life. But sometimes new opportunities emerge from tragedy. At Sunshine, we accompany burn survivors during the recovery process and one of our main task is to help them envision their future after burns and identify possibilities.
Kuo-Chuan used to be an electrician, until he sustained 2nd degree burns over 42% of his body during a gas explosion. Once he emerged from coma after almost one month and eventually was discharged from hospital, that's when he realized that his ordeal wasn't over yet. Because his arms, hands and legs were severely burned, he had to undergo intensive rehabilitation at Sunshine's Rehabilitation Center to re-learn how to walk, eat and do many daily activities by himself. Because progress was slow and he faced many setbacks, Kuo-Chuan felt hopeless: "I'm not the person I used to be."
While undergoing rehabilitation, Sunshine's social worker encouraged him to find an activity he would like to do, not for work, but just for himself. That's when Kuo-Chuan remembered that he had tried woodwork a long time ago and although he found it interesting, his busy job made it difficult to keep this hobby. Now he was ready to try woodwork again and although he wasn't satisfied with his first pieces, he kept at it and continued to challenge himself.
Kuo-Chuan started with simple pieces, but as he got better, he began to be more daring and creative, experimenting with burning wood. Kuo-Chuan says about this technique: "The wood is like me, it's been through fire, but it still comes alive as an artistic piece that can move people. I hope that I can inspire people too!"
Woodwork was not only an extension of physical rehabilitation, it was also part of his psychological healing process and now it's become a full time creative job. Kuo-Chuan is grateful to Sunshine's social worker for the support and encouragement he received. Although his life was put on pause because of his injury, this moment allowed him to stop, examine himself and find a new direction for his life after burns.