I sur­vived a fireball…

The marks on my body are just the start of my story

Chat - - Contents - Harley Mal­low, 24

June 1997

Slowly shift­ing my head from side to side, my eyes were daz­zled by white lights.

Shad­ows hov­ered above me, electrics buzzed, ma­chines bleeped.

Wires seemed to be strap­ping me to the bed, but my limbs felt as if I was float­ing, my arms and legs co­cooned in ban­dages. I was just 2 years old. My only other mem­ory was of watch­ing Thum­be­lina, snug­gled into my mother Shan­non’s chest.

I re­mem­bered her warmth, hear­ing my sib­lings play­ing in the kitchen. My dad Craig whistling nearby.

But now that in­no­cent life had been in­cin­er­ated.

Re­placed by end­less days and weeks at Shriners Hos­pi­tal for Chil­dren, Ohio, miles from my home in North Carolina.

I heard doc­tors, Mummy and Daddy talk­ing.

My en­tire body had been en­gulfed in flames.

Now my whole world was this hos­pi­tal. Skin grafts ev­ery few weeks, Mum’s cries re­plac­ing the coo­ing I was used to.

I re­mem­ber the look of fear on my sis­ters’ faces, the feel­ing of ter­ror and chaos. And unimag­in­able pain. ‘You’re go­ing to be OK, baby girl,’ Mum’s voice said, of­fer­ing me an in­stant com­fort.

But I had such bad burns – to 80% of my body – Mummy couldn’t even hold my hand...

With Mum in 1997, af­ter the hor­rific ac­ci­dent

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