“Dancing With The Stars” Alum Visits Lincoln Hospital

By: Rachael Witter
rwitter@klkntv.com

You might remember J.R. Martinez from Dancing with the Stars or All My Children, but he's also giving hope to many across the country, including here in Nebraska.
He inspired millions on ABC's Dancing with the Stars. He and his partner got 1st place last year.
Now J.R. Martinez inspires burn victims across the country, but the former U.S. army soldier calls these people survivors.
Martinez suffered burns to over 40 percent of his body while deployed in Iraq.
“We use the word survivor in the burn community, we don't use victim and I think it's important for all these patients to understand that. I like to say that the movement the incident happens to us, we're the victim. Every second after that that we're alive, we're survivors.” said Martinez.
“Scars are like tattoos but with better stories. And I think that's pretty amazing. It's a symbol of courage of bravery. It's a symbolization of how strong every single one of them are and the pain they endured.”
St. Elizabeth is launching a new program called “SOAR”…survivors offering assistance in recovery.
It links current patients to survivors to offer support. Sue Tillemans is a survivor of an incident with a propane heater back in 2008.
“I had support from my husband and my children…they were wonderful. It's still a little motional but you get through it and you find your strength deep down and you just go forward.” said Tillemans.
She says she is looking forward to offering support to current patients, like her family did for her. She also says it's inspiring to see people like Martinez put hope back in the lives of so many…by defining a “new normal”. “You'll never be what you were, so you have to be a new you. And so I found a new me.”said Tillemans.

 

 

 

MARTINEZ MET WITH ABOUT A DOZEN FORMER BURN PATIENTS TODAY.. WHO WILL NOW VOLUNTEER THEIR TIME BOOSTING THE MORALE OF CURRENT BURN SURVIVORS.