EDEN, N.C. — Harley Dabbs, 19, can’t hide the scars that cover more than 80 percent of her body, but for a long time she tried.
“I wouldn’t go anywhere. I wouldn’t leave my house,” Harley said. “If I did go somewhere, I would fully cover myself no matter how hot it was outside. I’d wear coats and long pants.”
In June 1997, when Harley was three, her life changed when her family’s home caught on fire.
“My mom was trying to catch up on some laundry and I guess the wires got so hot and they ended up catching on fire,” Harley said.
She doesn’t remember the fire itself or the months she spent in the Burn Center at Shriners Hospital.
Harley has done really well medically, but struggled with anger and shame. Harley questioned her faith and even contemplated suicide.
“I just felt like the only place that I actually felt like I belonged was Shriners because everybody looked like I did,” Harley said.
After years of hiding from herself and the world, Harley said she became tired of missing out on life.
Last week, she posted her story on Facebook, which has received more than 8,400 “likes” and been shared more than 1,400 times.
Harley would like her story to inspire others to love each other—and perhaps even harder—love themselves.
“I’m not a victim, it happened for a reason,” Harley said. “I’m here for something, and I’m not entirely sure what it is, but I believe it is to help somebody.”
Harley dreams of becoming a nurse at Shriners Hospital to work with children in the Burn Center.