Courage is something we all hope we can have enough of when the unexpected happens in life, and this young lady needed plenty to survive her horrific ordeal.
Alyssa McDonald, 25, from Cincinnati, Ohio, was just 2 years old when she suffered horrific burns to over 75 percent of her face and more than 60 percent of her body.
“It was Memorial Day, my grandmother was making something that caused her to melt butter on the stove,” McDonald told Daily Mail. It only took a few seconds for McDonald’s life to change forever.
“Me being a curious child, I climbed up to have a look and accidentally pulled the pot of hot butter down onto myself. The butter fell directly onto my face, it missed my head but covered my face, I was burned very badly,” she said.
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Flawed and Fearless: We spoke with Alyssa McDonald, a severe burn victim, on how she wears her scars like diamonds. “A doctor could come up to me right now and say, ‘I have a magical peel…that could take away your scars.’ I’d turn him down because these scars make me who I am.” To read more about Alyssa head to EBONY.com. #BlackGirlMagic
Her family tried in vain to clean the burning fat off her face. “My uncle found me and desperately tried to wipe off the butter over the sink, but my skin was so badly burned it was melting off of my face,” she said.
Her life was in danger, and doctors held out no hope for the then-toddler’s survival. “After being rushed to hospital I slipped into a coma, where my mom said my head swelled ten times its normal size.” Not only was her face badly burned, but her back, shoulder and thighs didn’t escape the boiling butter.
Medical staff prepared her mom for the worst. “The doctors told her the best thing to do was to call the pastor and start getting funeral arrangements together as there was no way I was going to make it.”
Her fighting spirit was strong, however, and she was able to pull through. After waking from a coma, McDonald went on to spend the next year in hospital, receiving treatments and wearing a special mask to prevent scars from shrinking and skin infections forming.
Over the following years, McDonald was bullied at school and called all sorts of names. “I have a lot of bad memories of people pointing at me when but I’ve never allowed myself to be the victim. I had kids run away from me scared of how I looked and call me “monster”, I’ve even had kids cry when they saw me,” she said.
She was branded a 'monster' by bullies, but she says: 'I wear my flaws like diamonds'
“At Halloween, we went to the store for candy, there were loads of kids in costumes and the cashier thought I had a Halloween mask on. She told me, ‘It’s the most realistic mask I’ve seen all day,’ when I told her it was my real face she was mortified,'” said McDonald.
McDonald went on to have more than 100 surgeries, including getting a prosthetic eye as she had lost vision in one eye. She also required reconstruction for her lips and eyebrow.
As she reached her mid teens, McDonald made a life-changing decision—she decided to abandon the quest to look better through more surgery and instead embraced her scars as part of who she was. “It’s taken me a very long time to get time to get to this point but I’ve realized they make me who I am.” Her decision to love herself the way she was was very self-empowering.
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) February 7, 2017
“There is nothing I can do about it, what’s happened to me or how I look, people either will or won’t accept me—either way that’s not my problem. I’m helping people to get over their burns, because the longer you dwell on it the more valuable time you’re wasting on something you can’t change.”
She added: “I’ve had plenty of times where I’ve cried because I didn’t want to be different anymore and wanted to be anyone else other than myself. Once you realize there’s nothing you can do about it, it just becomes life. It’s not your problem how people perceive you or how they think about you, once you accept that you can live life for yourself and not everyone else.”
This woman absolutely owns her scars 👏
Posted by Shake My Beauty on Wednesday, May 8, 2019
“I wear my flaws like diamonds,” has become her motto.
“My scars are my most important accessory and bring out my personality. If I have a beautiful dress on they bring that out and are like diamonds to me.”
McDonald has a very healthy attitude towards her body. “I would not change my scars, I’m in love with them, even if there was a magical surgery to give me whole new skin I would turn it down,” she said.