2019 marks ten years since I became a burns survivor. A few days after my 16th birthday, I suffered burns to my face and neck in a camping accident.
I was peeling a pumpkin when the pocket knife I was using slipped and cut one of my fingers. Things went bad to worse as I ended up fainting into a campfire. I sustained first, second and third degree burns to my face and neck.
I spent two weeks in hospital and took a few months off school. The psychological effects have been long-lasting. I became extremely self-conscious and developed anxiety around being seen in public with my scars.
At the same time, having a near-death experience made me decide to live my life to the fullest. As a kid, I had dreamt about trying stand up comedy one day. Only a few months after my accident, I signed up for a comedy competition run by the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. I still had bandages on my face but I became a Class Clowns National Finalist that year.
I didn't get the chance to meet anyone like me until I started volunteering with the KIDS Foundation in 2016. Since then, I've attended their camps each year and am now an ambassador.
I have previously raised $1,000 for the KIDS Foundation, through my first solo comedy show titled 'Butt Donut'. Part of the show focused on my experience as a burns survivor. I told stories of things that made me laugh, even in the darkest of times.
In August, I will ride 550km with the a team of cyclists to raise money for KIDS. I've never attempted anything like it but I am excited to give back to an organisation that has truly changed my life.
Your donations can help send a child to camp, provide support to families and fund safety awareness programs in schools. Your funds will also help create a community where people like me can share experiences and feel at home.
Even a small donation would be super encouraging! Thank you :)