A mother-of-four who is now a double amputee after suffering horrific burns during a house fire claims the accident changed her life for the better.
Jessica Davies, 33, was involved in a house fire at seven months old. Her burns were so severe across 65 per cent of her body that she needed both legs amputating along with her fingers in a bid to survive.
But Jessica, from Pembrokeshire, Wales, admits the accident actually improved her life and said she is thankful to have been given a second chance.
She is sharing her story for the first time in a bid to raise awareness for burns survivors.
Mother-of-four Jessica Davies, 33, pictured with her children Tyler-May, 15, Oliver, 14, Elijah, nine, and Ember, 21 months, was involved in a house fire at seven months old and lost both her legs
Jessica’s burns were so severe across 65 per cent of her body that she needed fingers, an ear, hair and part of her mouth removed to survive
Full-time mum Jessica said: ‘I’m thankful for the house fire because without it I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength.
‘My new pathway in life began in February 1989; there was an accidental house fire in my home which left me with 65 per cent burns to my body.
‘I needed both my legs, fingers, ear, hair and part of my mouth removed as they were too badly damaged.
‘My injuries were so widespread across my body that they struggled to find skin to graft. They managed to take some from my back, but most grafts were taken from my twin sister Ellen (33) who was also in the fire but sustained less burns.
The stoic full-time mum, pictured with her youngest daughter Ember, said she has learned to walk on her hands and use prosthetics to get around
Jessica’s injuries were so widespread across her body that they struggled to find skin to graft. They managed to take some from her back, but most grafts were taken from her twin sister
‘Those are the things that I lost, but I gained so much more. I was given a life that has no limits – I have always had a can-do attitude, so anything is achievable.’
Jessica said she has always had a positive attitude and hopes other survivors can adopt her ‘can do’ attitude.
She added: ‘Growing up it never really occurred to me that I was different, I felt just the same as the other kids.
‘I would always find a way to overcome obstacles – one of my biggest achievements is learning how to swim.
Both Jessica and her twin sister Ella, pictured as children after the accident, were involved in the house fire in February 1989
Jessica said her friends and family have never treated her any different because of her disability – however this sadly isn’t the case with employers
‘I live a normal life, it just takes me a little longer to do simple tasks, like going up and down the stairs, which I have to do on my bum.
‘Some aspects of parenting is a bit more challenging – for instance, pushing a pram; that’s easy, but I have to hang on to the pram for dear life when going downhill.’
Jessica said her children Tyler-May, 15, Oliver, 14, Elijah, nine, and Ember, 21 months, are her ‘inspiration’ and ‘with them, every day is an adventure’.
She added that her friends and family have never treated her any different because of her disability – however this sadly hasn’t been the case with employers.
Jessica, from Pembrokeshire, Wales, pictured left with her twin sister Ellen, now says the accident actually improved her life
Jessica said she sometimes forgets she is an amputee as it is rare she has to rely on other people to help her. Pictured left and right wearing prosthetic legs
Jessica, pictured with her youngest daughter Ember, said her children are her inspiration
‘Despite the fact I am very capable of walking on my prosthetics and using my hands, I have previously been told I will “scare the customers” when applying for a waitress job in the past,’ she admitted.
‘I was also told by a university lecturer that it would be “too risky” for me to fulfil my dream of becoming a midwife.
‘A lot of the time people tend to stare at me in the streets, but I don’t let it get me down.
Jessica was left with severe burns on 65 per cent of her body. Pictured left is the burn scars on her legs and right on her body
Jessica said she now lives life to the fullest as ‘you never know what will happen next’
‘An elderly man has come up to me before saying how sorry he felt for me and it is like “someone has chucked me on a bonfire”.
‘This highlight the negative attitudes and perceptions some people have, but I feel very happy and lucky to be alive.
‘Sometimes, I actually forget that I am an amputee as it is very rare that I have to rely on other people to help me, but when I do I respect it as I respect my life.
‘I live differently by living life to the fullest as you never know what will happen next. I could have had a life full of independence, but I don’t, so there is no need for me to dwell on it.’