Mitch and Courtney Waldron, newlyweds from Tallapoosa, Georgia were on a camping trip when disaster struck and their lives were forever changed. At the time, the couple had only been married for 2 months. As they were sitting around the campfire, the flames began to die. In order to start the fire back up again, Mitch decided to pour gasoline on it.
In the process, Mitch accidentally set his wife on fire. Courtney described the horrific event in an interview with Inside Edition stating, “I was in pain. I was sitting there slapping my face, constantly trying to get it off, get it off.” She also told People magazine, “I stopped dropped and rolled while screaming bloody murder. I thought I was dying.”
Mitch quickly dialed 911 and told the operator, “Ma’am, my wife is burning. Please hurry. We had a campfire and it exploded. We need help.” The operator then asked Mitch what the cause of the explosion was, and he responded, “It was stupid on my part.””
When help arrived, Courtney was rushed to the hospital but, unfortunately, she sustained terrible injuries: 40% of her face and body were burned. Courtney spent a total of 51 days in the hospital and required 20 separate surgeries. While speaking to People, Courtney says, “My hands got burnt because I was trying to put out my face […] I felt every inch of my flesh burning off that night.”
You may think that Courtney’s story couldn’t get worse, but in addition to her physical pain, she suffered a painful loss only two weeks after being discharged from the hospital. Mitch broke the news that he was abandoning her, leaving her to take care of their 4-year-old daughter and pay back $2 million worth of medical bills.
In the Inside Edition interview, Courtney says that even though she knows that the injuries she sustained were the result of an accident, she has yet to receive an apology from Mitch. Along with altering her life forever, he also left Courtney and his daughter without a place to live.
Fortunately, Courtney’s community heard about her experience and banded together in order to help her rebuild her life. They started a GoFundMe page in order to collect donations that will help Courtney pay her medical bills. Nowadays, her perspective is positive and in hindsight, she says, “I think if [Mitch] was around he would be holding me down. I wouldn’t be as strong as I am today and wouldn’t have made as much progress.”
She adds, “The support I’ve received has been unbelievable. I’m so blessed […] I still see me when I look in the mirror. I know deep down that I am still just as beautiful as I was before.”