burn survivor lifetime acceptance
As You Is founder Michael Fornwald and mom

Long ago a young boy looked in a mirror. “What are the grown-ups staring at when they look at me on the beach?” he said to himself.

Right before his eyes he saw the scars covering his chest and neck for the first time. Bright red scars from an accident that happened when he was a toddler. He felt a deep shame. He would hide his shame for many years to come.

When this boy grew old and tired of hiding, he met with a therapist who taught him to see his inner beauty. At 54 years old, he finally freed himself from the shame. He loved himself for the first time.

He penned three words as an ever-present reminder: “As You Is.” His self-acceptance was complete.

He decided to put the phrase on a t-shirt. People smiled. Friends coaxed him into starting something. And so he did.

“As You Is” is a rally cry for anyone and everyone that has a good heart, regardless of race, color, faith, age, gender, nationality, physical or mental limitations, or appearance.