When I was 16, I was in a plane crash with my father in the mountains of Colorado. There’s more to the story, which I swear I’ll get around to writing soon. Here’s some sound and video.


#FaceEquality

I am an advocate for the #FaceEquality movement. As a burn survivor with facial differences, I have direct experience with the discomfort and discrimination of having a visible difference in an appearance-focused society. James Partridge, founder of Changing Faces and Face Equality International, called this having a “distinguished appearance”. I always liked his positive spin on everything. James was a hero of mine. He passed in 2020, but not before he could get Face It: Facial Disfigurement and My Fight for Face Equality off the press. I highly recommend it and his seminal book Changing Faces: The Challenge of Facial Disfigurement, which was a boon for me in the hospital. I still occasionally work with Face Equality International, an organization that I love dearly. It is one way to keep in touch with this great man’s legacy. Read my piece about James shortly after learning about his passing.

The NC Jaycee Burn Center’s Aftercare Program, the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, and Charlene Pell’s Facing Forward, inc. have been other important organizations for support and edification. I encourage you to check them out. I hope to write more here soon.

My face next to a few superstars of the #FaceEquality movement!
Art by Phyllida Swift and Face Equality International.
Meeting with James Partridge in 2017 to discuss the new organization that would become Face Equality International


Work with me

Burn Survivor Peer Support

I provide peer support as part of the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors SOAR (Survivor’s Offering Assistance in Recovery) program to burn survivors or family members who request it.

Please submit a request with the Phoenix Society at this link.


Blake Tedder Burn Endowment

Through the generous startup funding from my hometown community in Rocky Mount, NC, and the forethought of Catherine and David Combs, my parents, I oversee a small endowment in my name. This fund The Blake Tedder Burn Endowment supports burn prevention and fire safety education, victims and their families in the recovery from burn injury, and therapeutic support for burn survivors through small grants ($250-$1500). I disburse funds annually to one or a few orgs: the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center Aftercare Program, the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, Face Equality International, the North Carolina Firefighters Burned Children’s Fund, and fire department safety programming.

You can make a gift to this endowment here. Thank you.


News / Articles

6/2022 – WRAL.com – Medical marijuana bill stalls in North Carolina. Why cannabis advocates are frustrated

5/2022 – Journey Magazine – What to Expect: Getting Back Out There (p. 20)

8/2021 – News of Orange – Plane crash survivor tributes those who helped him

1/2020 – Carolina Country – Retired Chaplain Embodies the Spirit of the NC Jaycee Burn Center

3/8/2019 – Chapelboro.com – Chapel Hill Fire Crews Discouraging Potential for Bonfires [Video]

6/3/2014 – UNC School of Social Work Magazine – Two MSW students turn life-altering experiences into advocacy for others

7/18/2011 – WRAL – Carrboro man to return to scene of plane crash [Video]

6/30/2011 – Private Website – Burn Survivor Camps are the Best Medicine for Children with Severe Burns

5/21/2011 – WRAL – Camp for burn victims helps build confidence [Video]

7/18/2009 – WRAL – Carrboro man recalls treatment at Jaycee Burn Center [Video Missing]


The Blake Tedder & Friends Annual Charity Crimmus Jam 2004-2008, 2015

Annually, from 2004 to 2008, dear friends and community partners in my hometown Rocky Mount helped me put on a charity concert raising money for the Blake Tedder Burn Endowment. It started as a fun way to bring our large community of high school friends back together during the holiday break during our college years. Each year the concerts got bigger and bigger and featured some of our areas “top” musicians (yeah right). We can’t vouch for the quality of the music, but the memories and fellowship were what it was all about. We rebooted the Crimmus Jam in 2015 for sweet reunion. Some of my favorite memories are from playing on stage with some of my favorite people from our early days of making music. You know who you are. And I love you.