Amber Brendan Simon

Professor Amber Young – A Personal Reflection

Amber Young, who has passed away tragically young, was a much loved and respected member of the Scar Free family. Others, more qualified and familiar with her deeply impressive career and personal attributes, will write glowingly of Amber’s achievements. For us, at The Scar Free Foundation, she was one of the most passionate, deeply committed and caring clinicians and researchers we have ever had the pleasure to work with.

I met Amber for the first time, early in my career with Scar Free (then the Healing Foundation) through the BBA (British Burns Association) and her then role as Research Lead for the Association. She would later become Chairman of the BBA and our working relationship developed further. The Foundation undertook an exercise in the early 2010’s, to draft a new Research Strategy and on behalf of the BBA Amber led the process to identify burns research priorities. This led to the production of one of the most inciteful, succinct and patient-focused expressions of burns research priorities and significantly informed the Foundation’s later investments in this area. In due course, Amber would go on to lead a significant programme of work funded by the Foundation at the University of Bristol, making possible a raft of research outcomes. Just this week, we have finalised a brief ‘impact video’, reflecting on past 20 years of the Foundation, in which the SPACE smart dressing – a wound covering that can visually signal life threatening infections – features prominently; this was just one of Amber’s projects. Amber would go on to lead other Scar Free research endeavours at the University, most recently concluding a feasibility study into the establishment of a much needed children’s burns cohort and gene bank. The Scar Free Foundation only played a relatively small part in Amber's extensive research portfolio. Despite that, she always supported our cause and lent her time and energies freely and passionately to support Ambassadors, mentor the next generation of burns researcher and generally inspire all she encountered with her enthusiasm and compassion. We were thrilled over the last few years to see her research career blossom still further with the award of a major grant from the NIHR. Typically, she continued to work with passion and drive, despite the obvious toll that her illness was taking.

Amber has sadly left us before she could personally conclude her current project, although we are confident her work will continue to have impact. For all of us Scar Free who knew her, we will remember more than anything, her personality. We will remember her single minded pursuit of better outcomes for her patients, first through her work as a Consultant Paediatric Anaesthetist and latterly through her clinical research. But we will most miss her warmth, her humour, her infectious enthusiasm. Amber was, and will continue to be, an inspiration to us all. We send our love and kind thoughts to Norman and all of Amber’s family and friends, on the occasion of such an enormous loss that we all feel and share.

- Brendan Eley, Chief Executive