Life is by far the most special gift that Mother Nature has given to everything that lives. Because of all the safety equipment we’ve created and all the medicine we’ve came up with, I believe, our species tends to forget that. But of course – it doesn’t take much to get us back on track – a tornado here, a flood there, some mass shootings, some poisonings, or a new mutated virus – these things bring us back to the realization that the life spark is, indeed, something fragile and it can be put off easily.
Then again, I find it funny that even though it’s a fragile thing, it has the potential to be extremely unyielding, when faced with an untimely end. Everything that lives is designed to try its hardest, in order to survive. Surviving has two levels and this is a story that managed to survive on both, even though the cards were stacked against her. Her name is Andrea Grant and she’s a strong young woman, forever changed (both physically and mentally) by a childhood trauma.
It happened in 2001, when Andrea was only 15. A gas leak in her home resulted in a violent explosion, which then grew into a fully fledged firestorm. Her brother Kendell and her were home alone when it happened. They both barely survived, but her body paid the price – over 85 per cent of it suffered a 3rd degree burns.
Here’s a fact: many people have perished after burns such as those. What followed were many months of surgeries, and never-ending pain. Then, after she was out of the woods, she had to learn how to walk, write and even eat again. What kept her alive, no doubt, was her spirit and her will to live. Then came the realization that she would never look like other children, followed by the ultimate bad news – due to the damage to her body, she could never be a mother. Or so the doctors said.
I imagine It’s a heavy thing, the thought of ending up without a family, maybe even the heaviest. It can stop a person’s desire to live and it’s even worse with women. But once again, Andrea powered through that, learning that no matter what, she needed to learn how to love herself first (Just like Whitney Houston’s song, I know).
*This picture has more than 20,000 likes, inspiring many people
Well, in the end Andrea didn’t end up alone. What’s even cooler – she got pregnant. And even though no one thought she could carry a child through a full pregnancy – guess what – Andrea became a mom to a gorgeous girl, named Jada. It wasn’t easy – apart from the pure belief she had in herself, Andrea knew she had to ready her body for the pregnancy. Her skin, had lost its flexibility, so something had to be done about that. She started treating her skin with olive and coconut oil, combining them with shea, to battle further pregnancy scars.
Against all odds, Andrea got pregnant again. This time, she decided she wanted to share her miraculous experience with other survivors like her, in order to communicate hope to those who have none. Thus, a photo shoot was done, celebrating life hopefulness. Needless to say, the photos took upon a life of their own and went viral, spawning tons of comments of encouragement.
Recently Andrea started a foundation of her own, called BeyondScars (which I find a pretty neat name for it). The organization’s aim is to help burn victims and their spouses to rebuild their confidence and regain their lives – one step at a time.
Check out the foundation’s website, it’s filled to the brim with awe-inspiring stuff and if you’re really looking, I bet you will find something for you and teach you a thing or two about self-love. Andrea believes that if one looks into a mirror, he needs but one thing to love about him/herself. Only one is needed so that confidence can be built around it.
Yeah, sounds a bit corny, but I believe it, especially coming from someone like Andrea Grant. I’ve no doubt that the explosion forever changed who she was and that she still remembers the horror, the pain, as if it happened yesterday. Her nose forever will carry that smell of death and smoke and burning skin. Her skin will forever carry the scars, and her sub consciousness will forever dread any sign of fire.
But what’s important, is that from the ashes of that tragedy, a phoenix has risen, one, who managed to defy all expectations and what’s even more – to give hope and strength to others who walk the same path.
Everybody knows that over time scars heal and pain subsides, but not everybody knows how to endure those dark times. At the end of the day, I’m reminded of that old and overused saying: What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. That’s a given. What I love about Andrea is how she shared her newfound strength.
H/T – Source