Burn survivor helps raise money for other burn victims

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 11:22 PM EDT
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CLEMSON, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - A domestic abuse survivor is turning her tragedy into treatment.

Seneca-native Katie Cook was burned on 70 percent of her body back in May 2014. Victims of abuse, to this extent, don’t always make it out alive.

“My then-husband came into the bedroom while I was sleeping, doused me in gasoline, and lit me on fire,” Cook said.

As much as she smiles, you’d never know what Cook has been through.

“I spent four months in a... medically-induced coma,” said Cook, “I went into septic shock twice and almost died. All of my organs were on life support.”

At that time, Cook has a long road to recovery ahead, but her abuser didn’t break her spirit. She’s now a burn ambassador for The Burn Foundation of America.

Chief Rick Cramer says Clemson University’s Fire Department partnered with the foundation as a way to give back.

“We have agreed to take one of their can trailers and park it here in our parking lot,” Cramer said, “And we’re asking that all of our residents save their aluminum cans. And bring those cans to the fire station.”

It’s called the “Can It” aluminum can recycling program. And it comes just in time, as The City of Clemson recently stopped curbside, pick-up recycling.

“That money that we raise on those cans will be donated back to the Burn Foundation of America,” said Cramer.

49 surgeries, a few skin grafts, and countless cans later, Cook is now helping burn victims--just like her--with medical equipment like compression suits and wheelchairs, and also things like gas cards. She hope her story inspires them to be green instead of blue.

“You can still have the life that you want. You just have to keep that drive and hope alive,” Cook said.

You can drop off cans at 740 Issaqueena Trail, in Clemson.