Burns survivor Tiana-Joy King reveals the horrific bullying she endured while sharing her dream of finding love

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Burns survivor Tiana-Joy King reveals the horrific bullying she endured while sharing her dream of finding love



Tiana-Joy King was just 14 months old when her night light burst into flames and set her on fire.

The 29-year-old’s first memories begin moments later when he wakes up to find his pajamas turning to liquid on his skin as flames dance across his bedroom floor.

He screamed for his mother, roused his family and saved them from the house fire, which left 69 percent of his body badly burned.

‘My clothes were melting off my body and my skin was like wet tissue paper,’ she said.

‘Once my mother opened the door, she saw flames running along the ground and those flames weren’t just flames… they were me.’

Tiana-Joy King suffered third- and fourth-degree burns to 69 percent of her body in 1994 when she was just 14 months old when a nightlight caught fire.

Doctors Say Tiana-Joy Will Die (Hospital Photo After House Fire)

Tiana-Joy was airlifted from Adelaide to hospital where doctors told her mother she would almost certainly die.

She was placed in a medically induced coma for nearly a year while she underwent treatment and, against all odds, she survived.

But the pain of that night in November 1994 would long linger.

He stayed in the hospital for months, then years, and underwent countless surgeries.

And it wasn’t just the physical toll he had to deal with.

He has put up with bullies all his life saying he looks like a ‘boiled potato’.

‘I wish I could tell you it was from my high school days, but a few years ago I had some friends go against me and tell me they were going to burn my house down a second time,’ he said.

He was placed in a medically induced coma for nearly a year during treatment and, against all odds, survived

Tiana-Joy’s mother woke up to her baby girl’s screams and found her engulfed in flames

‘I’ve also made friends because they’re ready to do things I’m not, so I’m often left out.

‘Others won’t tag me in photos on social media.

‘It all ripped through my self-esteem and I felt worthless at the worst time of my life.’

It took her a long time to become the confident young woman she is today, but Tiana-Joy says ‘it can still be hard sometimes’.

‘Someone looks at me twice to start panicking and second-guessing everything,’ she said.

‘But I surround myself with people who make me feel beautiful and confident, which I think is important.’

The physical pain from the burns is ongoing as well as the need for surgery

Tiana-Joy is now looking for love and has not given up on finding it despite sometimes being the victim of cruel words.

‘Of course I’ve considered dating. I’ve never had a boyfriend but I’ve always loved the idea of ​​love and one day I’ll find someone who will see past the scars and one day maybe have a family,’ she said.

‘I’ve had a few crushes on people but nothing romantic has come of them and it’s always been one-sided, so hopefully that will change one day.

‘I don’t really think about it too much but seeing my friends getting into relationships sometimes makes me feel like I’m missing out, but I’m too scared to put myself out there to achieve this goal, so hopefully that will change one day.’

The thing he fears most is becoming a burden to someone.

‘I’m afraid to put myself out there because of my scars and ongoing issues for the rest of my life,’ she told Need to Know.

Tiana-Joy learns to be confident and move through life by promoting self-love and acceptance.

‘The pain and the surgery – I don’t want to put that on anyone,’ he said.

Tiana-Joy suffered third- and fourth-degree burns over two-thirds of her body in the fire.

He also lost his toes and heel, and the fire destroyed his windpipe and blew a hole in his lung.

Despite the negativity, Tiana has made it her mission to spread positivity, sharing her story and her burn with anyone who asks.

He added: ‘After being bullied all my life, I think it’s about being kind to people and being someone that others can look at and say, “If he can do it, I can do it.”

She says she’s ready to find love — and while it scares her, she hopes she’ll find someone who can cut through her scars.

He lost his toes and heel and the fire destroyed his windpipe and left a hole in his lung

‘Things get bad but it’s always important to believe in yourself because we’ve already survived the worst of it.

‘Don’t give up on the journey you’re on.

‘Life becomes beautiful and we are as beautiful as one without blemishes.’

By sharing her story, Tiana hopes to inspire others to love themselves and one day find love with others.

She hopes to attend the World Burns Conference in Phoenix later this year with her mother and brother and is asking for support.

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