Hundreds attend holiday party for burn survivors

FRESNO, Calif.

Seventh grader Megan McKeon keeps coming back to this annual gathering because of a painful experience she survived, "When I was five months old my birth mother got drunk and she passed out and dropped her cigarette in my crib and left me burning," said McKeon.

McKeon had more than 20 surgeries since the fire burned her from the waist down, "Sometimes it's tough for me because kids stare at me," she said.

The Leon S. Peters Burn Center has been holding this holiday party for more than 15 years to give people like McKeon and other burn victims a chance to gather. About 800 patients are treated at the center every year.

"This party is really about not being a burn survivor but coming together and enjoying life," said organizer, Sandra Yovino.

Some patients find it tough to transition into life after the injury, "Your ability to hold a job and also if you are the primary bread winner of the family you may not be able to go to that job you had, if you're in school what are your peers going to think about you," added Yovino.

Even though many victims here are still struggling to heal, this celebration is a reminder of how far they've come.

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