Gasoline burned 64 percent of the skin on his body.
In the summer of 1967, a then 11-year-old Michael Mathis was camping in his friend’s yard when his friend tried to relight the campfire with a can of gasoline. Mathis heard his friend scream as he caught fire and when Mathis tried to help, the can blew up and knocked Mathis on the ground, he said.
“I was lying in the fire and gasoline was on my pants so when I stood up, I was burned like a candle,” Mathis said.
Forty-five years later, Mathis has helped more than 111,000 burned children as the Founder and CEO of the Burned Children Recovery Foundation, according to the foundation’s pamphlet.
The foundation hosts a week-long summer camp where children recovering from burn injuries can bond and grow together to overcome the physical and mental challenges of being burned.