Survivor Foundation creating beauty from the ashes


Survivor Foundation CEO Samantha McClymans.  Picture: Martin Kennealey           d449478
Survivor Foundation CEO Samantha McClymans. Picture: Martin Kennealey         d449478

The Craigie resident said she had experienced multiple traumatic situations in her life including rape, domestic violence, a violent home invasion and being diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I took a long time to go through those processes,” she said. “I thought if I could get one person through in half the time it took me… I didn’t want people to experience what I experienced.”

Ms McClymans started volunteering with the Peter Hughes Burn Foundation in 2012 and was made chief executive in 2014 when it became the Survivor Foundation.

“I knew we were having fantastic results with burns survivors and the penny dropped; we could help with any type of trauma,” she said.

The foundation aims to help trauma survivors. It offers workshops, support groups and several programs.

“People who go through trauma often get stuck and don’t seem to know how to navigate their way through,” Ms McClymans said.

“We help them devise a toolbox of support strategies.”

More than 2600 people are on the foundation’s national database, with workshops offered around the country.

“It’s really rewarding from the outside watching and seeing them come so broken, then see them become a really awesome person who wants to give back,” she said.

“People are starting to become more open about their condition and their feelings.”

She said support could be as simple as sitting and listening to someone.

“I would like to see more community spirit and being more involved with others,” she said. “We need to go back to good old community spirit; I believe it breaks down barriers to mental health.”

Ms McClymans said her outlook had changed drastically in the past five years.

“I am grateful to still be here and to make a difference in one person’s life,” she said.

“Every day I wake up happy and excited to see what challenges the day will bring.”

The foundation is seeking donations and sponsorship to continue its work.