In a split second, calm can turn to chaos and you could be fighting for your life. You don't always see these things coming. And sometimes, even if you had time to prepare, you would still be struggling to get a handle on things.
One girl's life changed in an instant and there was nothing she could have done to be ready for it. Her story proves that just because you are thrown into something doesn't mean you can't come out on top.
Warning: some of the following images may disturb some viewers.
On November 10, 2014, Kilee Brookbank came home from school.
There was a smell in the house that wouldn't seem to clear, so she went to the bathroom to light a scented candle. There was an instant explosion of fire. Kilee's hair went into flames. She ran from the house where her neighbors met her and tried to pat out the flames that were spreading. Her neighbor Carol poured water over her head. It put out the fire, but she was still burning. Carol ran back to her house and called 911.
"This is an emergency. I need someone at 324 Free Soil Road. A little girl is on fire back here... She's burning, something blew up."
"She's on the back porch screaming ... Her hands, they're melting off of her..." Kilee thought just her hair had been burned, "It felt normal. My body felt the same, kind of numb. My hands felt different. I remember it was really hot, but it didn't hurt." Paramedics rushed her to a medical helicopter and then she was flown to the hospital. Doctors discovered 20% of her body was covered in third degree burns and 25% was covered in second degree burns.
Doctors had to make incisions into her arms to reduce swelling.
She was given oxygen, an IV, and was covered in an antibiotic solution. She required four surgeries and skin grafts for her hands, arms, and abdomen. She was in the hospital for 38 days. And even when she got out, she was still going back three times a week for physiotherapy. “I felt lucky. I could have been hurt a lot worse. Both of my arms are complete skin grafts.” Because of the scars, Kilee didn't see herself wearing short sleeves even again, but that all changed as her high school prom got closer and closer two years after the accident.
Now 17 years old, Kilee was ready to wear a dress with sort sleeves to her prom.
"I never really thought I'd want to be in a dress again. I just didn’t think I’d be comfortable in my own body." But she gained her confidence back with the help of her strong spirit and her boyfriend Dylan who was by her side during the whole recovery.
On her prom day, she did it. She wore this black and sparkly gown with so much elegance.
Not only that, but she was even crowned Prom Queen! Life came at Kilee fast but she proved that she is the one in charge and that she has to confidence and courage to overcome any obstacle.
Kilee continues to inspire others with her story.
She has even published a book titled Beautiful Scars that follows her recovery and how she has learned to embrace her scars: "It makes you stronger. You don't take anything for granted. It's life changing. I know there's worse things that can happen."