Burn survivor: Scars are signs of survival
BATON ROUGE - Dancing With The Stars winner and army veteran J.R. Martinez visited fellow burn survivors at Baton Rouge General Wednesday.
"It makes me happy, to know that you can have an impact on someone who has just gotten into the tunnel and sees no light at the end of the tunnel at all because the tunnel is too long," Martinez explained.
Martinez was badly burned after hitting a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq. He said after he recovered it was still hard to walk out the door at first, because you don't know how people will look at you.
He turned that mentality around by going from the hospital bed to the T.V. screen, landing a role on All My Children. He's most widely known for winning on Dancing With The Stars.
Martinez tells patients who experience what he went through that the scars they're left with are signs of courage, strength, and bravery. He says survivors have to looked at their scars as a sign of survival and others will too.
"We become kind of like those catalysts that kind of help people with how to react to us. You don't really rely on other people to figure it out, we have to help them, we have to guide them in a lot of ways," he said.
Martinez says many things have changed in the ten years since his recovery. Now, patients get re-introduced into a normal life while still in the hospital.
He's speaking tonight on behalf of burn survivors at a gala for the Baton Rouge General Foundation.