By Liana Jacob
THIS ASPIRING model’s dreams were crushed after an EXPLOSION left her with THIRD DEGREE BURNS on her FACE – resulting in TWENTY-FIVE surgeries and having to relearn how to walk, talk and OPEN HER MOUTH.
In November 2014, real estate agent, Delaney Rose (21) from Texas, USA, was hanging out with her friends in front of a bonfire.
Her friend, Cameron, who was standing next to her, saw that the fire was going down, so he grabbed a gasoline container to top up the fire. However, as soon as he did that, the can exploded, setting him and Delaney on fire.
In sheer panic, they called an ambulance that drove them to the hospital, where she found out that 16 per cent of her body was covered in third degree burns. For the first month, she underwent 25 surgeries to reduce the scarring including deep FX erbium laser and in-office light therapy laser.
As soon as she was well enough to leave the hospital, she would visit Cameron daily. However, three months later, sadly Cameron passed away due to the extent of his burns. The grief she felt over losing her best friend and facing the outside world and being mocked by strangers over her scars, caused Delaney to develop depression.
She spent a further six months in a rehabilitation facility, where she had to learn how to walk, talk and write again. She faced a lot of criticism over her appearance. One day when she walked into a restaurant, a little boy started crying because he thought she looked like the ‘monster’ in his nightmares.
Experiences like this caused her to shy away from the public and cover her face up with makeup until recently she decided to fully embrace her journey and inspire others through social media. She now has an impressive 10,000 followers on Instagram under the handle, @delaneyrose.realty.
“Back in November 2014, right after I had just turned sixteen, some of my friends and I were at a bonfire get together out in the middle of nowhere in Texas,” Delaney said.
“My friend, Cameron, saw that the bonfire was going out so he grabbed a gas can trying to start it up again. When he did that, the gas can exploded catching us both on fire.
“I was quickly put out, but I still suffered third degree burns to sixteen per cent of my face, hand, and both my legs. Cameron was burned ninety-five per cent of his body and three months later, he passed away from his body giving out.
“The hardest part was losing Cameron. I struggle with survivor’s guilt and wish he would’ve made it out alive so we could be burn survivors together.
“I was in the hospital for a month; learning how to write, walk, and even open my mouth properly again. When I got out of rehab, I would still go up to the hospital to see Cameron before he passed away.
“His death has been and still continues to be extremely hard for me, but I know he is always with me. I’ve had over twenty-five surgeries on my face to try to correct the scarring.
“I was confused and felt lost; I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin to the point I wouldn’t go in public without applying layers of makeup on my face and I would never wear shorts or skirts so people couldn’t see the burns on my legs.
“Straight after when I’d go out in public, I had people call me names and point, even some kids would run away.
“Being sixteen at the time of the accident meant that I had to grow up extremely fast and my self-confidence was non-existent until recently I’ve come to embrace my scarring and tend to not wear makeup to cover up my burns.
“It has been a long recovery; at first my plastic surgeon would inject my face with steroid injections to try to break up the scar tissue.
“Then we advanced to laser surgery where he would basically re-burn my face. I’ve had six FX erbium laser surgeries and in office more than twenty small laser procedures.”
Delaney says that along with the grief of losing her friend, she struggled a lot with her self-esteem and that her psychological recovery is still ongoing.
She is now learning to love her skin and appearance and not to hide it. She admits that after losing her job as a model since the accident, she felt demotivated until recently when she achieved her dream of becoming a real estate agent.
“I am six-foot tall and very active; I enjoy anything outdoors especially beach volleyball. I have played volleyball my whole life but when I went off to college, I decided to call it quits,” she said.
“Before my accident I was an aspiring model who was auditioning with multiple agencies after me but due to the accident it never worked out.
“My life has been a constant uphill battle since the accident. I have struggled for years from depression and social anxiety.
“There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t look at myself in the mirror and not remember that night. People were so mean.
“They would gasp and just stare and whisper but one time a little boy started crying when I went into a restaurant because he thought I looked like a monster he had in his nightmares.
“I had to grow up really fast. I switched high schools to get away from that town and the people gossiping about me all the time.
“My mum has been my rock ever since, during my time in the hospital she stayed with me every day and has never left my side since. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her.
“It has completely changed my life. I’m a completely different person because of it. It will get better, don’t let what other people think about your appearance get you down because you are so strong and brave.
“Wear your scars like wings because you have conquered something other people could never fathom.
“Each day is a new day and I challenge you to go out there embracing your burns with pride, show people that nothing can stop you.”
For more information visit: www.instagram.com/delaneyrose.realty