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

Long ago a young boy looked in a mirror. “Why are the grown-ups staring at at me on the beach?” he wondered to himself.

It was then he realized the grotesque, bright red scars covering his neck and chest might be the reason so many recoiled in horror when he was shirtless. Scars from spilled hot tea, that scalded him as a toddler, now made him squirm with discomfort again. He would hide his shame for many years to come.

But the boy grew into a man who became tired of hiding. So 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. To complete his self-acceptance, he penned three words to remind himself that he was pretty cool just the way he was.

As You Is.

Today, As You Is serves as a rally cry and reminder to try and find the good in yourself and other, regardless of race, color, faith, age, gender, nationality, physical or mental limitations, appearance or any stupid stuff you might have done in the past.