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Former Burn Patient Feels Scars are Part of What Make Her Beautiful

Former Shriners Children’s patient Allison considers her burn scars the work of the divine.

“The lines and bumps are like God’s thumbprint,” Allison explained. “I find tracing my skin’s texture soothing because it reminds me of just how amazing my body is.”

Allison’s life changed in 2000 when she was 16 years old. The fumes from a gas can caught fire, burning nearly 60% of Allison’s body.

She spent 70 days at Shriners Children’s Ohio (then located in Cincinnati) healing and eventually relearning how to do everyday tasks.

Although she recalls the physical pain, she also remembers the staff who became her family.

“As a teenage girl recovering from burns, I struggled with how people would look at me,” she explained. “It was a really dark time but the staff’s acceptance carried me through it. They were the angels that made me who I am today.”

Allison said her toughest challenges came after she was released from the hospital.

“It was like I was mourning,” she said. “I was alive and physically able to go out into the world, but I wasn’t going to see my nurses every day.”

Allison said she struggled with figuring out how to love and accept herself the same way her Shriners family did.

“I looked in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw,” she said. “I thought people were always staring at me so I stopped seeing friends or going out in public.”

In a way, I love my body more now than before I was burned. It’s capable of meeting almost any challenge.

Allison started leaning into her faith and found a therapist to help heal what was on the inside. Ironically, the key to her recovery after her stay in the hospital was the same as when she was an inpatient: movement.

“I started walking, lifting weights, and working out,” she said. “I had to really get in touch with my body because my scars don’t sweat, so I can get overheated quickly, but the more I listened to my body, the more amazed I was.”

Allison trained and completed a half marathon, the Muddy Princess, a messy obstacle course for women, and healthy milestones she once thought impossible.

“In a way, I love my body more now than before I was burned,” she explained. “It’s capable of meeting almost any challenge.”

Each step in Allison’s physical journey represented acceptance and eventually appreciation for her scars.

“These scars are a gift,” she explained. “I don’t often wear makeup or cover them up anymore because they’re part of who I am and I think they are beautiful.”

Former Patient Doesn't Let Her Scars Define Her

Allison spent 70 days at Shriners Children's Ohio healing and eventually relearning how to do everyday tasks.

allison in front of offroad car

Allison says her burn scars "are like God's thumbprint."

allison as a teenager

As a teenager recovering from her injuries, Allison struggled with esteem and self-image issues.

allison with staff member

Allison fondly remembers the Shriners staff who became her family during her stay.

allison completing a half marathon

Allison completed a half marathon, the Muddy Princess, a messy obstacle course for women.

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