WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
A mum in the US needed skin grafts after falling face-first onto hot curling tongs when she suffered a seizure while doing her hair - but has no plans to give up using heated stylers.
Brittney Sullivan, 32, was getting ready for her job as a transaction coordinator in January 2018 when she had an epileptic fit while curling her locks in the bathroom.
The married mum-of-three, from Cleburne, Texas, was found face-down and unconscious on the scorching tongs by daughter Makennah Reign, then eight, in the horrific accident.
Collect of Brittney after the incident. Credit: Caters
Brittney, who was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2013, suffered third degree burns and needed six operations including a full skin graft, but after coming to terms with her facial scars is sharing her story to show people beauty isn't skin deep.
The mum to Makennah, now 10, Presley Monroe, seven, and James Walker, two, said: "I started the morning like any other morning. I was standing in my bathroom, curling my hair getting ready for work. The next thing I knew, I'd woken up in hospital.
"My daughter Makennah, who was eight at the time, found me on the bathroom floor and got in touch with my parents.
"My dad took the kids to school and my mum took me to hospital. When I found out the extent of my injuries I cried and thought, 'I'm never going to be beautiful.'
Brittney didn't think she would ever find herself beautiful again. Credit: Caters
"I didn't want to see myself in the mirror. It took me a week before I could look in the mirror.
"A million things went through my mind. Was my husband David going to leave me? Would my kids be scared of me?
"I have - since I was a child - thought I was ugly and that I had to work hard to be beautiful. I decided to be beautiful and show the beauty within me. It's not scary using heated hair stylers - I'm a lot more cautious but not scared.
"I teach my daughters the dangers but I don't want them to be afraid because of what happened to me."
Brittney with daughters Makennah, 10 (centre) and Presley, 7 (left). Credit: Caters
Brittney was rushed to hospital where doctors told her she had third degree burns and needed a skin graft over the full right side of her face.
Brittney said: "I am proud of all my children. Each one of them has learned so much from their mum having such an extreme thing happen to her, but Makennah is my life saver.
"She didn't freak out, she did exactly what she was trained to do in case of an emergency. While taking care of me, she was also telling her sister and brother it was going to be okay. I am so proud of the young lady she is becoming.
"Presley is my daily nurse and makes sure I'm ok and taken my medicine. Every day she asks, 'Mommy, did you take your medicine?'
"I love my kids - if I could give them the world I would, because they give me that daily."
Brittney Sullivan with her husband David Sullivan and their kids Makennah, 10 (right), James, 2 (centre) and Presley, 7 (left). Credit: Caters
Brittney spent a total of 12 days in hospital, and has undergone six operations including a skin graft and wound treatments, before having a skin expander inserted for four months last April to reconstruct her face.
But miraculously, despite the curlers burning her right eyelid, Brittney still has 20/20 vision.
She said: "In January this year I had surgery to have my eyelids and nose and lip repaired, however the skin grafts didn't take. Last week I had my eyelid redone because of that, and four days later doctors repaired my bottom eyelid.
"The worst surgery was the first full skin graft - I've got used to the others."
Brittney Sullivan from Texas, USA, after she fell face first onto hot curling tongs. Credit: Caters
Brittney started an online support group called 'Beauty Within Brittney' where she advises and inspires people to look beyond her scars.
She said: "Once I finally saw myself in hospital, I just thought, 'I'm tired of being insecure and so I'm going to be beautiful and show everyone the beauty within me.'
"My family has been amazing. Each one of them supports me through everything.
"When the accident first happened, my friends came together to support me with food, donations and support for my online platform. Through this, I support others to find their beauty - no matter how different they are.
Brittney Sullivan from Texas, USA, with daughter Makennah, 10. Credit: Caters
"I am beautiful no matter my weight, my looks or my scars. Everyone should see the beauty within themselves.
"I may have called the support group Beauty Within Brittney, but I want people to take my name out of it and put their name in."
What an inspiration.
Featured Image Credit: Caters