Imagine walking into a room of 150 strangers and feeling completely at home. Ashley Wilson knows the feeling.

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This article was published 21/3/2016 (2130 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Imagine walking into a room of 150 strangers and feeling completely at home. Ashley Wilson knows the feeling.

Wilson experienced it in 2012 when she attended the Canadian Burn Survivors conference, a national gathering meant to support people who have been affected by burns.

"It was just unconditional acceptance, which I’ve never felt anywhere else in a room of people that (I didn’t) know," the 25-year-old says. "Usually in our society, people are judged all the time. So, it was a really neat experience."

Wilson has scars from the ankle to her knee on her left leg from third-degree burns she sustained as an infant after a nurse inserted an IV into her improperly.

Attending the conference inspired Wilson to get involved with Mamingwey Burn Survivor Society, a Winnipeg organization that 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.

"I came back… really mesmerized by how that conference made me feel," Wilson says. "Due to that, I wanted to get more involved in the society and helping other burn survivors."

One of Wilson’s current responsibilities is serving as race director for the Go for the Burn Run, which takes place April 23 at Assiniboine Park.

It will feature a 10-kilometre timed run, a 5K timed run, a 3K youth run and a 3K walk. All proceeds will support Mamingwey’s work.

In spite of the fact the scars on her leg have required three surgeries in the past 22 years in order to increase her range of motion, Wilson has never let her injury prevent her from participating in sports.

A lifelong soccer player, she thought a run would be a good fundraiser when the society was looking for ways to raise money.

More than 250 people participated in the inaugural run last year, raising $8,000.

For Wilson, the best part was seeing people of all abilities participate, including a person in a wheelchair and one woman who walked five kilometres on crutches.

"Being injured and being a burn survivor holds its own limitations," Wilson says. "Being able to break out of those barriers to accomplish something, whether it’s a 3K walk or 5K run or 10K run is awesome to see."

In addition to her work organizing the run and her role with Mamingwey, Wilson is a board member of the Canadian Burn Survivors Community, which is holding its annual conference in Winnipeg in June.

She hopes the Go for the Burn Run will also raise awareness of Mamingwey’s work.

"You hear stories about people who never knew there was support or help," she says.

"We just want to be able to help as many people who have been affected by a burn as possible."

Wilson is looking for volunteers to help with the run. Anyone interested is encouraged to call Barbara-Anne Hodge at 204-272-0945 or email barb@hodgefamily.ca.

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