On August 19, 2015, a fire began after a tree branch struck a power line and ignited as it fell to the ground. The U.S. Forest Service wildland firefighters in Engine 642 were dispatched to what ended up being the largest wildfire in the history of Washington State. Daniel Lyon Jr., Richard Wheeler, Andrew Zajac, and Tom Zbyszewski worked fearlessly to save homes on a dead-end road near the Twisp River. After winds unexpectedly shifted, the blaze rapidly doubled in size and the men were ordered to turn around in an attempt to escape. Driving through flames so dense they were unable to see even inches in front of them, Engine 642 crashed with only one firefighter making an escape.
Daniel Lyon, the lone survivor of the Twisp River Fire, suffered third-degree burns on more than 70% of his body. After running directly through flames so hot his helmet and sunglasses melted into his head, Daniel was lucky to escape with his life — but suffered significant scarring and permanent hair loss. Through Operation Restore, Daniel met Dr. Niedbalski who volunteered his services and performed multiple transplant surgeries to help him regain his confidence. Through a process called Follicular Unit Excision — a surgical technique where individual hair follicles are extracted and transplanted one-by-one — hair restoration is possible for those with injuries or scarring. Dr. Niedbalski was able to use this specialized technique to successfully cover the scarring on Daniel’s scalp and restore his sideburns and eyebrows.
In celebration of Northwest Hair Restoration’s 10th anniversary, Dr. Niedbalski committed to donating $200 from every restoration procedure performed this summer to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. The Wildland Firefighter Foundation is dedicated to helping families of wildland firefighters who lost their lives or were injured in the line of duty, like those impacted by the Twisp River Fire. Dr. Niedbalski and his team are excited to announce that they’ll be donating $5,400 in honor of these heroes. Click to learn more about Northwest Hair Restoration and the foundations we support — Wildland Firefighter Foundation and Operation Restore.