Girl, terribly burned in kitchen accident, recovering well - KCTV5

Girl, terribly burned in kitchen accident, recovering well

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A little girl who was the subject of several KCTV5 stories after her hair caught fire in her family's kitchen is making fantastic progress at healing from her burns.

You might think Tah'Mia Gorman's healing would include both a physical and an emotional process, but her state of mind seems to have remained positive throughout.

"I think Tah'Mia's personality made it easier for us as parents," said her father, Tim Gorman. "A day after a graft she was dancing and looking in the mirror."

The 7-year-old told KCTV5's Betsy Webster that her favorite thing to do is to go to the park with her cousins.

"My cousin takes me on walks," she said. "She's 18, and we go to lots of fun places."

Not long ago, she couldn't go on those walks. The burns to her face were severe. When her east-side neighborhood welcomed her home from Shiner's Hospital in Cincinnati, OH, she was wearing a clear mask to protect her face from exposure and infection. She had to wear the mask all day, every day, except for two half-hour breaks each day for washing her face.

"It hurt when I washed my face," she said.

Now, she says, it no longer does. "Not. At. All," she emphasized with a big smile.

It was Oct. 1, 2012, when Tah'Mia ran past the gas stove in her parents' kitchen just after her mom had blow-dried her hair. She's African-American, and the blow out made her hair full and puffy. It caught fire when it grazed the flame as she passed. She tried to put it out herself. By the time she yelled to her family on the front porch, the flames had engulfed her face.

Ever since, her parents have gushed about the treatment at Shriner's Hospital. They stayed at the hospital, learned to care for her wounds, and participated in the expertly-guided process of getting used to her new appearance.

Friday, her father asked her a few questions about that experience.

"How'd it make you feel that first time being back in the public?" Tim Gorman asked.

"I loved it," Tah'Mia responded."

"Were you nervous any? "

"Nope."

"Did you get any funny looks or anybody asking you questions?"

"They asked questions, but no funny looks."

"What did they ask?"

"This man, he said, 'What happened to her face?' and my momma told him."

"Was he sad or was he happy?"

"He was sad."

"Did you tell him it was okay, that he didn't have to be sad?"

"Uh-huh."

It's hard to be sad for long in the presence of Tah'Mia's upbeat humor and her innocent, infectious laugh. The laugh comes out often. When asked to describe to others what it's like being her, she answered, "Very fun. And I sing a lot. I could even sing in my sleep if I could, but then I would wake up the whole house."

Just a few weeks ago, she was able to do away with the protective mask she got when she left Shriner's Hospital last fall. That milestone came well ahead of schedule because she was so much better than most kids about wearing it consistently.

The decision was up to her about whether to be home schooled or go back to Pathways Academy, a Kansas City charter school. She chose the school with all her friends. She admitted people treated her differently when she returned, but in a good way.

"They didn't say hi to me as much before the accident," Tah'Mia said, "and now they say hi every day. I'm a superstar!"

Her father said the Shriners were to thank for that too. They sent a social worker to the school to introduce Tah'Mia before she returned.

Tah'Mia's mother, Yolanda Bailey, explained, "Before she came back, they showed slides of what she went through up there and what she was going to look like when she came back and the protective gear she had to wear and why she had to wear it. It was just lovely because everyone welcomed her with open arms."

Tah'Mia is so comfortable with her appearance that she agreed to be a face model for Shriner's Hospital. She will be the first example they will have of the scarring and recovery process on a mid-range skin tone.

Usually, it is parents who teach their children, but Tah'Mia's parents said she has taught them a little something throughout the past year.

"She's really inspired me not to give up," said her father.

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