When Steve Marshburn, Sr. arrived to work one day in 1969, he didn’t expect anything out of the ordinary to occur.
Marshburn, Sr. was working a typical shift at a bank inside the teller window when his normal day turned tragic.
“The drive-thru window was at my backside,” explained Marshburn, Sr. “The drive-thru speaker was not grounded; therefore, lightning entered the bank via the speaker – breaking my back.”
Doctors gave Marshburn, Sr. six months to live; however, thirty-one years and thirty-eight surgeries later, he is still alive and fighting.
In the aftermath of the strike, Marshburn, Sr. began researching the phenomena that threatened his life – lightning.
“There was no literature in the medical journals as how to threat lightning strike survivors,” said Marshburn, Sr. “My wife and I began contacting those we would hear about that were survivors of this traumatic, undocumented injury and too began charting the injuries related directly to this type of injury. The injuries paralleled with each person we spoke with. We knew there was more to this than simply coincidence.”
It was that moment of euphoria that sparked the idea of creating a community of both lightning strike victims and their families.
Marshburn, Sr. founded The Lightning Strike and Electric Shock Survivors International, Inc. (LS&ESSI) shortly thereafter.
The organization became a nonprofit run by volunteers and the first of its kind in the world.
Currently the 1,516 members are made up of individuals from around the globe. Some countries include Spain, France, Australia, Japan, China, England, Ireland, Canada, and Italy.
LS&ESSI serves as both a community and an educational tool.
“We have published 13 books to date. Three of the books are members’ stories… others are about pain and workers compensation” and “emergent care one should receive at onset among other books,” said Marshburn, Sr.
LS&ESSI also aims to educate children on the dangers of lightning strikes and electric shocks.
“We talk to children on the telephone, email, text them, and hold an Annual World Conference where we have support groups for the youth that have been injured,” explained Marshburn, Sr.
2009 will mark the 19th World Conference. This years World Conference will be tentatively held at The Sea Mist Hotel in Myrtle Beach, SC.
The World Conference normally has at least three speakers in addition to support groups chaired by skilled individuals and experts.
It has been thirty-one years since Marshburn, Sr. was struck by lightning thus changing his life instantaneously. However, it is that event that has helped numerous individuals.
“I believe this… whatever the mind of a man can conceive and believe, he can achieve. It takes guts sometimes, but if it’s worth doing – give it your all,” said Marshburn, Sr. “Life is about helping others. It’s not about me.”
For more information or to donate to the organization, please go to http://www.lightning-strike.org/.