Location: Indiana

Date Of Injury: December 24, 1996

I’m Paige, a 21 year old college student. On Christmas Eve of 1996, my older brother and I were in a house fire at just 1 and 3 years old. A little boy that was staying with us had been playing with a lighter underneath my crib. My brother, whom everyone called Bubby, passed away that night from smoke inhalation at the tender age of 3 1/2. I ended up being in a coma for 2-3 months, missing my second birthday with burns on over 85% of my body. The doctors were sure I wasn’t going to make it.

After several months in the hospital, with the first 5-6 major skin graft surgeries occurring within the first week of the accident, I was finally released. I had a long hard road ahead of me. By the grace of God, the unconditional love and support from my grandmother, and the diligent work from the surgeons, I survived. Soon, skin grafts, pressure garments, dressing changes, and physical therapy became a huge part of my life. Along with that, bullying did as well. I had a difficult time throughout my school years adjusting to social norms and finding friends. So I turned to music and school work.

My advice to anyone who is struggling to recover emotionally and mentally after a burn injury is to simply trust in the fact that you are still here for a reason. You have a purpose. You may not be able to see it, or understand it. But there are countless people in this world that love you and want you here with them. Keep pushing forward, and never lose hope in your future.