It was a miracle when Georgia mom Courtney Waldon survived a horrific campfire accident involving gasoline last year. But in a matter of weeks, her entire life would never be the same again.
Last September, the 27-year-old had been relaxing by a campfire while cooking tuna steak and asparagus when her then-husband threw gasoline on the fire to relight it. Some of it got on Waldon, and she found herself nearly engulfed in the flames.
"I stopped, dropped and rolled while screaming bloody murder," Waldon. "I thought I was dying."
And she could have — if the ambulance hadn't shown up right when it did and if the hospital wasn't as close by as it was. After suffering from fourth-degree burns on her face and third-degree burns on her hands, legs, and feet, Waldon needed to spend 51 days in the hospital for recovery – 30 of which she was in an induced coma.
Just weeks after she was finally able to come home, her husband abandoned her and her 5-year-old daughter Caroline, because he said he couldn't "handle or deal with" her. But Waldon's response has been nothing short of inspiring.
"It was a blessing in disguise," Waldon said. "I think if he was around he would be holding me down. I wouldn't be as strong as I am today and wouldn't have made as much progress."
Indeed, she has since undergone 20 surgeries, and will require quite a few more in the years to come. But she is feeling hopeful about her recovery — and hopeful about helping other people along with their recoveries as well.
"God saved my life and now I have work to do on Earth to help others," she said. "Whether it be burns, a car wreck, or even if it's just that someone's husband cheated on them — that's my goal."
In the meantime, loved ones have set up a GoFundMe page to help Waldon pay for her medical bills. But it sounds like Waldon is already thinking about her ambitions after her full recovery, and the positive things the future still holds.
"I shouldn't be here but I am," she said. "I know that there are people out there who have it worse than I do. I've always been a believer that everything happens for a reason and I still believe that."