When she was 8 years old, on Mother’s Day 2011, Elizabeth fell victim to the No. 1 cause of burns in children during an innocent family get-together enjoyed by most Louisianans. While playing with a friend and preparing to enjoy all the trimmings of a Sunday crawfish boil, Elizabeth’s world suddenly turned upside down.
She and her aunt Cheryl, who shared her incredible story of inspiration, recalled that fateful day in Sulphur, Louisiana. To shield the pot from the wind, her had dad placed a board nearby. However, it suddenly broke loose, knocking over the pot and spilling its scalding contents before Elizabeth could get herself out of the way. Taken to a local hospital, doctors quickly realized she needed specialized care for the acute second- and third-degree burns she sustained on the lower half of her small body.
Cheryl, who only happened to be visiting for the weekend, sprang into action and strongly urged her physicians to refer Elizabeth to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Galveston, which she knew was world-renowned for treating children with burn injuries. At first, they resisted because of the distance to Galveston, but Elizabeth’s aunt made a case, assuring them the family would have a place to stay with her in nearby League City.
Elizabeth was transported by ambulance and arrived at the Galveston Shriners Hospital within 12 hours of the time of her injury. From the moment that Elizabeth was admitted, Cheryl recalls feeling incredibly relieved, simply by how the staff communicated with her brother Ricky, Elizabeth’s dad, who was under extreme duress from the day’s events. “They took him by the hand and gave him every answer he needed.” She went on to say, “The whole six weeks or so that we were in and out of the Galveston hospital were nothing short of exceptional.”
Since then, Elizabeth has returned for surgeries as she has grown through the years to maintain full mobility. However, as an avid dancer, she has needed far less intervention with keeping her scars from holding her back. In fact, such resiliency, both physically and mentally, may soon be leading her to a scholarship opportunity as a competitive dancer in college after she completes her senior year in high school. With her scholarship, Elizabeth said she wants to pursue a degree in nursing, and may even return to Shriners Hospitals for Children one day as a burn nurse.
She has also become an advocate for burn safety, using her story to warn other avid crawfish lovers, even on social media. Her aunt Cheryl, who was present for all of her care at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Galveston, also shares Elizabeth’s experience on the job during safety meetings within the oil and gas industry.
Connecting with other Shriners Hospitals patients over the years through social media, she continues to be inspired to help others through her experience. Now 17, Elizabeth is wise beyond her years and is poised to make a significant impact on the world as a Shriners Hospitals for Children Patient Ambassador.
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