November 10, 2014, was a pretty normal day in my life—right up until it wasn’t. I got up, went to school, and came home to relax and watch TV until the rest of my family got home. I was 16 at the time, a junior in high school, and my life revolved around school, soccer, and my friends. When I got home that day, I smelled a terrible odor, which I thought was some leftover food my stepbrother had forgotten to throw away. I tried to ignore it, but the stench got worse and worse. Finally, I had an idea: I’d use a candle to mask the smell. I went into the bathroom, lit the candle, and the next thing I knew, I felt hot all over. The blast from a gas explosion knocked me back, and I hit my head on the toilet, falling unconscious. The next thing I knew, my dog Digger was barking at me to wake me up, and he and I ran out of the house to my neighbors. Much of that day is a blur, but I suffered second- and third-degree burns to 45% of my body and spent 38 days in Shriners Hospitals for Children-Cincinnati. My recovery wasn’t easy, but I know that being a burn survivor has made me a better person. I created the Kilee Gives Back Foundation to raise money for Shriners Cincinnati, and we’ve been able to donate more than $100,000 so far. I’ve written a book, Beautiful Scars, and I love meeting with other young burn survivors and inspiring them to stick with their recovery and therapy. I want them to embrace their scars and their stories. Now that I’m in college, I’m majoring in communications and I hope to keep sharing my story. It means the world to me to know I can help people feel comfortable in their own skin. I am so grateful for the life I have, and I wouldn’t change any of it!