In March of 2011, Kellen and his family were in a head-on collision causing both vehicles to catch fire, trapping everyone inside. Kellen and his mother, Leslie, survived the crash, but he sustained severe burns over 59 percent of his body.
After being hospitalized for months, Kellen was sent to Children’s Colorado to focus on rehabilitation and reintegration.
“At times, it was confusing and overwhelming but at the end of the day, all of our questions were answered and we had a direction to move in,” Leslie said. “The staff has been like an extended family. They are always available for professional guidance and support.”
When Kellen was discharged and ready to get back to his life at home, staff from the Children’s Colorado Burn Unit travelled to Colorado Springs to work with the teachers and students at Kellen’s school to assist with back-to-school integration.
15-year-old Kellen continues to go to the Burn Clinic on an outpatient basis and has undergone follow-up surgeries including scar revision.
Kellen and Leslie use what they have gone through as burn survivors to offer patients and their families assistance in their own recovery through the SOAR program.
“It’s a way for me to give back to the survivor community,” Kellen said.
His advice to other patients is, find something that gives you peace of mind and you can do anything. Kellen is also involved with the Burn Camps program where he has the opportunity to meet other survivors and enjoy the outdoors.
Kellen likes to hike, fish and play with his Border Collie. He wants to be an “enlightened entrepreneur” when he grows up, using his skills and resources to help others.
“Kellen is introspective, pensive and very bright,” Leslie said. Looking back over the last two and a half years, the best word to describe Kellen is, brave.”