A Lifetime of Recovery
The only thing Jacqui remembers about the crash is the whir of the blades on the helicopter that came to rush her to the hospital. Extensive third-degree burns scorched her eyes and left her blind; melted off her hair; took her ears, lips, nose, and eyelids; and robbed her of the use of her hands. Doctors did not expect her to survive.
But she did. Jacqui has had well over 100 operations since the crash. When her medical bills topped $5 million several years ago, she lost count of the total expenses. She has no health insurance.
The carefree, fun-filled life Jacqui once knew as a teenager in Caracas is gone forever. Her appearance and her ability to live independently went up in flames over a decade ago, along with her plans for a career and a family. She continues to be unsure of what her future holds.
Photo credit: Rodolfo Gonzalez and the Austin American-Statesman