I was cutting a barrel with a plasma cutter, which is like a torch. I’ve done them before, but this one exploded. It blew pretty good and I went up in flames. My sister and dad ran to help and brought me to the hospital in New London. Sixty percent of my body had third-degree burns. The staff told us the next two hours would be critical if I was to survive. They put me under and that’s the last I remember. I was flown to the burn unit in Madison for critical care and don’t remember much of anything for the first two or three months, but it was touch and go.
I was discharged four months later. For my rehab, Madison had the burn victim experience but I wanted to be close to home. So I transferred to New London. They don’t typically deal with burn patients here, but they were more than willing to work with me. They did so much for me. They were pushing themselves, because they never dealt with someone in my condition, and they pushed me to do as much as I could. They never let go. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. They’re like family to me.
I’m told I’m only the 10th person in the country to survive the kind of severe burns I had. Today, I really cherish my kids and my family, and I have so much gratitude for this community that gave me so much support.
“All of us needs each of us, and each of us needs all of us.”