A bride who was left with burns all over her face and body three months in an accident before her big day has insisted that her scars made her wedding even more special.
Marga Abejo-Momper, 30, who lives in Luxembourg but is originally from Manila, the Philippines, decided to take a shortcut to light an outdoor brick oven with methylated spirit and was holding a three litre can when it caught fire and exploded.
She suffered burns to a third of her body and was temporarily unable to walk, eat or take care of herself.
As she recovered in hospital, friends asked if she wanted to postpone the wedding but Marga was determined to go ahead and said her scars made her big day with Thibault, now 36, even more meaningful.
‘On the wedding day, my battle scars made our story together even richer,’ she told The Mirror.
‘The scars gave the wedding more of a story and more sentimental value.’
Marga Abejo-Momper, 30, from Manila, the Philippines, suffered horrific burns in an accident three months before her wedding but was determined to go through with her big day despite her injuries
Marja and her husband Thibault on their wedding day in France. She says that her scars made the big day even more meaningful and sentimental
Marja suffered severe burns to her left leg and to her arms after she was set alight when a canister of methylated spirits she was using to light a fire exploded in June 2016
Marja’s accident occurred at her parents house in the Philippines in June 2016, as she tried to light an outdoor oven to make pizza.
She was using newspaper to light the fire and a scrap fell off and ignited the can of alcohol she was holding.
Flames engulfed Marja’s body, but she didn’t dare open her eyes fully for fear of them being burned as she felt the fire on her face.
Luckily there was an outdoor bathroom nearby and she was able to put out the flames with a bucket of water before jumping under the shower.
Marga and Thibault ontheir wedding day in France in June 2016. Marga credits her partner with helping her recover so quickly as he ‘forced’ her to start walking again and carried her to the bathroom when she needed help
Marja recovering in hospital in June 2016. She had to be put under general anaesthetic to change her bandages because she was in so much pain
At first, Marga didn’t think her injuries were not too serious but after a few days the burns started to turn black. She didn’t look at herself in the mirror but was shocked when her mother showed her a photo
Her parents rushed out on hearing the explosion and were shocked when they saw their daughter, but Marja initially thought her injuries weren’t too severe.
She thought she’d been a ‘but burned’, but that she would heal up within a week.
But as the family’s driver rushed her to hospital the adrenaline wore off and intense ‘lightning-fast sharp pain’ started to kick in.
At hospital she was told that more than a third of her body, including her chest, face and torso, arms and half of her left leg had been affected, with some areas sustaining second degree burns.
Classical guitarist Marga and her husband Thibault performing on their wedding day in France in June 2016
Marja suffered convulsions as her wounds were dressed and then passed out until the next morning.
Bedbound, she didn’t have access to a mirror but she recalled how all her visitors cried when they saw her.
A few days later, she asked her mother to take a picture and when she saw it her reaction was ‘Oh my God’, but there was worse to come.
At first her skin was red and raw, but as the days passed the burns turned black and ‘creepy’ to look at.
Marga Abejo-Momper during her recovery. She suffered a horrific accident as she was lighting an outdoor brick oven which saw her suddenly engulfed in flames
Over the next two months, Marja underwent skin grafts and had to have her bandages changed under general anaesthetic every 10 days as it was too painful for her to be conscious.
The classical guitarist was supposed to go on tour three weeks after the accident, but at this point she couldn’t even walk.
She went through surgery to change her bandages procedure 13 times, but her surgeon reassured her she would be able to walk down the aisle on her big day
Three weeks after the accident, Thibault arrived in Manilla after being detained by work commitments.
Marga’s legs after the accident. Doctors took skin from her right leg and grafted it on to help repair damage to her left leg
Marja had only sent him a picture of her body and not her face, fearing his reaction.
But he quickly swung into action to help Marja regain her independence.
Prior to his arrival she couldn’t walk or stand by herself but Thibault ‘forced’ her to take her first steps.
He carried her to the bathroom and helped her do everything as she gradually became stronger.
Their wedding day arrived in August 2016, three months after the accident and the pair exchanged vows at a church ceremony in Nancy, France.
She wore compression garments under her dress to flatten her scars and her make-up artist airbrushed her chest and arms which were exposed in her strapless gown.
Despite being in discomfort, she said she was happy and that it was a wonderful day with laughing and dancing.
She admits that sometime she’s frustrated as her wedding photos aren’t perfect, but added: ‘Now when I look at them, everything is as it should be.’