How This Burn Survivor Chooses Positivity
A post on her Instagram reads, “Still remember how crazy everyone thought I was for going back to school two days after leaving the hospital. It was hard but I managed to kick ass and make it on the Dean’s List. I remember falling outside of Nova Southeastern University cause my body wasn’t ready, split my knee open and all. This journey has been so amazing, a true test of faith and strength. Just hope my testimony can give at least one person the courage to fight for something they want.”
And it does. Now a first generation college graduate and published children’s book author, Julie continues to motivate those around her.
Can you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself?
I was born and raised in south Florida but my family is from Haiti. I have a degree in education and am actually working on publishing some writing at the moment.
Tell us about the night of the incident.
At the time I was a server at a nightclub and we served food so there were fryers. That night the club was really busy and the crowd started to form around the food area. I guess two of the customers knew each other from somewhere and it was some sort of disagreement at some point. So when they saw each other at the food area an altercation broke out and that’s when one of them pulled out a fire arm and began shooting into the crowd. Everyone gets up to run and that’s when the oil is kicked over and is poured over me.
After the incident happened, did your perspective on life and faith waiver? How did you view things after that?
For the most part, everyone who knows me says I didn’t change and I think I’ve always been a pretty positive person. I was an educator so I was used to working with children and I actually think you have to be on the motivational side and pretty positive so I think getting burned just made the call more personal.
How do you use social media to inspire and motivate others?
Social media is such a funny place where it seems like the whole world is focused on image and we have so many people looking up to “Instagram models” and people with perfect bodies [and] flawless skin. When I began to post my scars and everything online I would receive an overwhelming amount of messages from people saying thank God you know, now they have someone they can actually relate to or someone they can actually look up to or feel more personal towards.
What type of advice would you give to the you before your accident?
If I could tell myself anything it would be, everything works itself out. As crazy or scary or unexpected as certain things may seem it will always work itself out.
Sometimes it can be difficult to push through and accomplish our goals, what do you do to push through despite the obstacles you may face?
I think this was my staple message, the fact that I was released from the hospital bandaged up on a walker, wearing a diaper on Friday evening and on Monday morning I was a full time student still taking my classes. I rocked that semester, I was on the Dean’s List so if that’s not an example of you can do whatever you put your mind to I don’t know what else is.