By Liana Jacob
MEET the brave burns survivor who has had three children despite doctors warning her that she would never be able to conceive due to her scars.
It was on Thanksgiving Day in 1993, when mother-of-three and soon-to-be-author, Kanisha Anthony (28), from Missouri, USA, was scarred for life after her house was engulfed in flames due to unknown circumstances.
While she was lucky enough to survive after a police officer pulled her out of a window, her two brothers aged one and six at the time, didn’t make it out of the fire.
This left her wreathing in pain emotionally and physically, having to travel six hours every day for surgeries from when she was four to 17 years old.
Despite living around people who would constantly stare at her and having been bullied during her school years, Kanisha married her husband when she was 19 after meeting him at a camp dedicated to young burn survivors and now has three children.
“I was three years old when the fire happened, and I remember waking up seeing flames and hearing the screams of my two brothers,” Kanisha said.
“I don’t remember much after that. But I know a police officer was able to pull me out of the window by my foot. I was taken to a nearby hospital but was told there was nothing they could do for me there.
“I was then flown by helicopter to another hospital but by the time I made it there my heart had stopped beating. They were able to revive me after a few minutes.
“I was burnt so badly on my head and had to have many surgeries. Before my last surgery with my head, the doctors said that I wouldn’t be able to function and would be in a vegetative state for the rest of my life.
“When I woke up from that surgery the doctors were so amazed, I was known as the ‘miracle girl’.
“I was also told I would never be able to have children due to my scars not being able to stretch enough on my baby. I’ve had three healthy babies.
“Life was tougher for me than your average kid. Everywhere I went, I was stared at.
“I was picked on in school and suffered with self-esteem issues for a long time. Some days it was really hard for me to look in the mirror. It was as if I had become a different person.
“I had many operations over the years; too many to count. I had surgeries from the age of four all the way up to the age of seventeen.
“Recovery felt like a never-ending process; it felt like once I was fully healed from one thing, it was time for something else and it was extremely painful.
“I had to have my bandages changed every day; I remember crying just at the thought that it was time to change them.
“I had so many supporters; I think my biggest one would be my grandma. She was always there. As far as my confidence, I would say that my family played a huge role in that.
“They always made me feel like I was just like everyone else. I never felt different at home. I used to think it changed my life in a bad way, but as I’ve grown older, I realised that it has changed my life in a good way.
“I wouldn’t be the person I am today; encouraging others and helping others feel confident no matter what the circumstance.
“My family and loved ones were very hurt from the incident; they didn’t like seeing me in so much pain, not just physically but emotionally. They would get very upset when people stared or asked questions.”
With the constant surgeries and operations, countless skin grafts, and dealing with her inner demons, Kanisha has had to change her perception. This has been a tough process, but she says it has been the making of her.
“I lost four fingers, I lost an ear and my hair is unable to grow back, but even after losing all of that I have gained so much more in life,” she said.
“The biggest thing that I’ve had to change would be my mindset. I look at the world and the people in it in a different way.
“I realise now how beautiful the world is and how most of us take it for granted and pay attention to people for who they are and not their outer appearance.
“The hardest thing about it all was losing my brothers in the fire and watching my family in so much pain.
“But most people say that I have such a good perspective on life and that I inspire them to look at life in a different way.
“I think you need to love the skin you’re in and to try really hard not to let other’s opinions to get you down.
“My life motto is ‘you are you and that’s what makes you beautiful’, it’s not what others say or think. Also, to take what happened to them and use it to encourage someone else. Encouraging others keeps yourself encouraged.”
For more information visit: https://www.instagram.com/kanishaanthony/