Kilee Brookbank was a typical 16-year-old – thinking about school, soccer, her friends and her boyfriend. But her last ordinary day erupted in an explosion that would change her life forever.
On November 10, 2014, Kilee arrived home from school and discovered a bad smell in her house. In an effort to dispense the foul odor, she lit a candle. Unbeknownst to her, there was a gas leak and the fumes ignited in a fiery blast, throwing Kilee backwards and knocking her out. She awoke to her dog barking over her, not knowing what happened. Kilee felt the flames enveloping her body and ran to the neighbors for help.
After being flown to an emergency room in critical condition, Kilee was treated for 38 days at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Cincinnati. Kilee had to discover how to live again, as she had suffered burns over 45 percent of her body – enduring surgeries, skin grafts, perpetual physical therapy and excruciating pain.
Kilee had to find a new “normal” when she returned home – relearning how to tie her shoes, put on makeup and even turn a doorknob. In each moment of her long journey back to everyday life, Shriners Hospitals’ team of expert doctors, nurses and therapists were there for her.
Kilee now proudly displays her scars and was back to playing varsity soccer on her high school team less than a year after her accident. She wrote a book with her mom about her recovery, called Beautiful Scars, and is helping Shriners Hospitals keep kids and families safe with the Be Burn Aware campaign. To learn more about Kilee’s story, visit kileegivesback.org.
Since the 1960s, Shriners Hospitals for Children have been experts in pediatric burn treatment, providing critical, surgical and rehabilitative burn care to children, regardless of the families’ ability to pay.