In September of 2016, Courtney Waldon was on a camping trip with her 5-year-old daughter and husband of two months. The Georgia mom was sitting near the fire pit when it started to go out.
What happened next changed their lives forever. Barcroft TV sat down with Courtney to share her story. As the campfire flickered out, Courtney’s husband poured gasoline on it to relight it, but some of it splashed on her accidentally. The flames shot up, igniting Courtney’s body and face on fire.
She fought to put the flames out and was rushed to a nearby hospital. Courtney was alert during the ambulance ride, praying and thinking this was her end. Over 40% of her body was burned. Her third-degree burns were so severe that she was put into a medically induced coma, and was hospitalized for over seven weeks.
Her parents were understandably devastated, and the family decided to spare Courtney’s daughter the trauma of seeing her mom in the hospital. Following the accident, Courtney endured seven skin grafts and multiple surgeries, with more surgical procedures needed over the next two years.
Courtney came home to daughter Caroline who didn’t recognize her at first, but soon adjusted. Two weeks after her return, she was dealt another emotional blow: her husband left her. The 27-year-old mother had to learn to walk, move, heal, and now find a way to pay the bills as a single parent.
But her medical bills have soared to over $2 million. The weight of the debt with no income and being on disability caused Courtney to lose her home. With no other options, she moved back in with her parents for support. Soon, her community stepped up to help.
A local church, volunteers, and a professional construction company have teamed up to build Courtney and her daughter a home on her family’s property. Donations have poured in to help with materials and they are working on the final parts of the house’s construction as we speak. Without the burden of having a mortgage, Courtney can focus on her recovery and her daughter.
A GoFundMe page was started to help offset her medical costs which will be ongoing. She and her family are extremely grateful for the kindness and generosity she’s received from around the world. Though she still has a long way to go, Courtney credits her faith and her daughter for her progress.
Courtney wants to be an inspiration to other burn survivors and others who have suffered a traumatic event. As evidenced by her tattoo, she’s found strength through her pain:
“I survived because the fire inside of me burned brighter than the fire around me.”
Watch the video to hear more about Courtney’s life and the community that joined together to help her.
What do you think of this young woman’s story? Have you ever witnessed a community banding together to help with a tragedy like this?