April 26, 2018

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Burn survivor shares wisdom through support group

</p><p>Portraits of Stephen Haglund for the April 2 edition of my Volunteers column:</p><p>Stephen, 44, volunteers his time on the planning committee for the Go for the Burn Run, an initiative of the Mamingwey Burn Survivor Society.</p></p><p>See Aaron Epp, Volunteers columnist, Winnipeg Free Press</p><p>March 29, 2018</p>

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Portraits of Stephen Haglund for the April 2 edition of my Volunteers column:

Stephen, 44, volunteers his time on the planning committee for the Go for the Burn Run, an initiative of the Mamingwey Burn Survivor Society.

See Aaron Epp, Volunteers columnist, Winnipeg Free Press

March 29, 2018

Stephen Haglund knows what it means to persevere.

In 1995, the Transcona resident was involved in a campfire accident that left him with third-degree burns over 70 per cent of his body. He was 21 at the time.

“The mental toll that takes hold of you, that’s the big struggle,” Haglund says. “You have to pull yourself up every day, every moment… You have to be active in your recovery.”

Today, Haglund shares his experiences through his volunteer work with the Mamingwey Burn Survivor Society. The Winnipeg organization supports burn survivors as well as their friends and family by organizing events where they can share their stories, and support and learn from one another.

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Stephen Haglund knows what it means to persevere.

In 1995, the Transcona resident was involved in a campfire accident that left him with third-degree burns over 70 per cent of his body. He was 21 at the time.

"The mental toll that takes hold of you, that’s the big struggle," Haglund says. "You have to pull yourself up every day, every moment… You have to be active in your recovery."

Today, Haglund shares his experiences through his volunteer work with the Mamingwey Burn Survivor Society. The Winnipeg organization supports burn survivors as well as their friends and family by organizing events where they can share their stories, and support and learn from one another.

One of Haglund’s volunteer commitments is serving on the organizing committee for its Go for the Burn Run.

This year’s race takes place April 28 in Assiniboine Park. It will feature a 10K timed run, a 5K timed run/walk, a 3K youth run and a 3K walk. The money raised will support the society’s work.

The run promotes health and wellness within the burn survivor community, and gets families together as they deal with their recovery.

"It’s a great way for people to keep active," says Haglund, who is responsible for setting up and tearing down the course along with representatives from the Manitoba Runners’ Association.

Stephen Haglund with his dog Lily

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Stephen Haglund with his dog Lily

"The best part is seeing people finish. I’m sure at every race there are people going through their own struggles, and once they cross that finish line, it’s a great sense of accomplishment."

A lifelong athlete who enjoys playing hockey, Haglund has participated in the run twice and plans to do so again this year.

Haglund’s dedication to the event is inspiring, says society chairwoman Barbara-Anne Hodge, who has known Haglund since his accident.

"Steve is just an all-around great guy," Hodge says. "If we ask him to do something, we know as a committee he’s going to get it done. I think he’s also a role model for some of the people who were burned more recently, who are not quite as far along in their recovery."

"He’s always been a very brave man," Hodge adds.

Go for the Burn Run organizers are looking for volunteers to help direct traffic as well as hand out food and beverages.

Anyone interested in volunteering can call Hodge at 204-955-4942 or email barb@hodgefamily.ca. Donations can be made at mamingwey.ca.

Haglund says he’s looking forward to the race later this month. He recently became a father for the first time, so while he’s busy running the 10K, his wife and four-month-old son will be participating in the 3K walk.

Adjusting to life as a dad has been great, Haglund says.

"It’s true what they say: you really miss sleep, but it’s well worth everything you go through," he says. "I love my little guy so much. We’ve been blessed. We’re very lucky."

If you know a special volunteer, please contact aaron.epp@gmail.com.

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