Andrea Pitts

Dawn Cauthen-Thornton | May 22nd, 2020
Andrea Pitts (Photos by Judith Hill Photography)

Andrea Pitts (Photos by Judith Hill Photography)

Andrea Pitts of Nashville, TN is a burn survivor, community advocate, and very kind hearted person. She also believes in the power of a simple smile and laughter from the heart, and thrives off making others smile with positivity and helping those who are less fortunate. These are all qualities that assist her with managing Scars Uncovered, a nonprofit she has been cultivating since 2014.
Scars Uncovered is an organization that encourages survivors to uncover their scars, and to be transparent and free. I have my good and bad days in this area but hearing “Scars Uncovered” continues to give me, as well as those we serve, encouragement.

At the age of 18 months old, Andrea was involved in a traumatic incident that left her with severe burns on approximately 30% of her body. “While in the kitchen and watching my mom as she cooked one day, she turned her back for a quick second to get something out of the refrigerator. In that quick second, I instinctively reached for the ladle she had been using on the stovetop, trying to imitate her. This caused a pot of scalding hot water and beans to spill over me. In pain, I was rushed to the hospital and began a recovery process that would greatly shape the rest of my life. In the midst of tragedy, the nurses always told my parents that my smile spread happiness through the burn unit. I went through surgeries and countless hours of occupational and physical therapy and the medical bills steadily increased. Unfortunately, my parents did not have adequate insurance coverage. The hospital even threatened to terminate treatment at one point, but thanks to the persistence of my parents and the help of others such as the Shriners, I was able to continue my stay. After my hospitalization, the lives of my parents as they knew it changed a great deal. I had to be given special baths, daily wound care changes, and taken to several follow up appointments. My parents were very resilient and endured quite a bit of challenges in order to get me where I am today,” she shares.

That ordeal is the reason why Andrea pushes so hard today. Scars Uncovered was founded November 2014 with an understanding of the journey that encompasses coping with a burn injury. What started as an idea for a walk for burn survivors has evolved into the creation of an entire nonprofit organization. Andrea shares how she started hosting small fundraising efforts in order to obtain funding for start-up cost. “We were simultaneously in communication with hospital facilities surveying their needs and sharing what services we intended to provide. This process lasted for approximately a year and we provided our first set of care packages to Vanderbilt Burn Center in January 2016. As we collaborated with more healthcare entities, we were able to partner with more facilities to provide services and add on the financial assistance component of our services,” she says.

Scars Uncovered has assisted over 1,000 burn survivors. Their focus is to give comfort and support to burn survivors and their families. They provide resources that ease the burdens that often come with the tragedy of a burn injury. They also partner with burn units to deliver “Boxes of Love” care packages to recovering patients and/or family members. These are specialized care packages filled with necessities hand-picked with the needs of survivors and their families in mind. Each care package costs approximately ten dollars to produce, however Andrea says the impact is priceless. Currently, they are able to provide care packages to Vanderbilt University Regional Burn Center in Nashville, Tennessee, Shriners Hospital for Children in Cincinnati, OH, and the Reginal Burn Center in Memphis, TN.

Andrea’s personal experience of being a burn survivor hugely impacted her life. Even today, she shares how dynamic the journey contines to be and she has a great understanding of the mental, physical, emotion, and financial trauma that can be experienced throughout the healing process. “Being a burn survivor and creating an organization to support other survivors has helped me in so many ways, especially as it relates to the healing process,” she says.

Besides having compassion and a geniune concern for others, Andrea shares what she loves most about helping others. “I love when I hear from or see a patient that has received a care package or financial assistance from our organization. The gratefulness in their heart is rewarding and so fulfilling. To know that we are helping to make a difference in someone’s life during such a critical time makes it all worth it. Even if we do not hear from a survivor specifically, knowing that you are paying it forward with no expectation of anything in return is a great feeling,” she says.
As a woman of faith, Andrea proudly shares how God is using her to help so many others. “I believe we sometimes go through difficult times in order for God to strengthen us to be used by Him. Through this experience I have learned that it is a blessing to share your testimony. The very thing we try to hide is sometimes the very thing God uses to bless us, and others as well.”
Andrea says they are blessed to have volunteers, sponsors, donors, social media support, and others. Should anyone have an interest in any either of these areas, she encourages them to contact her and learn more on how to be a part. please follow us on Instagram or Facebook @Scars Uncovered, email us at info@scarsuncovered.org, or contact us at 615-933-9083. We would love to chat and/or love to see you following our good works.

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