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Elizabeth's Story

Elizabeth Soffe survived severe burns over her entire body at just six-months old.

My name is Elizabeth. I am seven years old. I like playing football and running and playing with my dolls. Sometimes I like my scars because they are part of me, I don’t remember not having them. Sometimes I don’t like them because they hurt and are itchy and I have to have lots of operations. Because I am missing fingers I can’t hold onto the bars in gymnastics but I can still cycle my bike.

Sometimes people stare and say mean things. That makes me feel sad because they don’t know yet that people who look different are still the same as them. I know that I am beautiful and funny and have a lovely smile. It doesn’t matter that I was burnt when I was a baby or that I only have one ear or that I look different. It only matters that I am kind and happy and amazing. 😉

February 2021

Mummy and Daddy's Story

On 29th May 2014 our youngest little girl, six-month old baby Elizabeth, survived a fire at our home in Qatar. Elizabeth was severely burnt all over her body. She lost most of her fingers, part of her nose and one of her ears. We relocated back to the UK, where Elizabeth spent the next six-months of her life in intensive care. For the rest of her life, Elizabeth will have ongoing treatment, including regular operations and physiotherapy due to her scarring. Her scars restrict her movement on her neck, elbows, wrists and other joints. Any non burnt skin has been used to provide skin grafts, which creates more scars.

Scarring changes everything. It’s part of our daily lives and has a lifelong impact on not just Elizabeth, but her three siblings and all of her family and friends. People don't think about scarring very much as it’s rare to come across somebody who is badly scarred – so it’s a surprise when they do. We see that every day by the way that some people (mainly adults) react negatively to Elizabeth. People just see her physical appearance and don’t take the time to understand what’s happened. It’s often up to Elizabeth to change their mindset. As soon as they see her smile and interact with her, they see that she is just a normal, cheeky, adventurous and loving child. Elizabeth loves everything that any child would - swimming, gymnastics, dancing and trampolining. Although she loves it, swimming can be difficult because her scars stretch in the water and feel uncomfortable.

The Scar Free Foundation’s aim for a scar free future is a fantastic goal. To eliminate the restrictive movement, the pain, the itch and the disfigurement caused by scars would be life changing for children like Elizabeth. What the Scar Free Foundation can do is raise awareness of the effect that scarring has on children and adults and move medical treatments forward massively through research and funding.

Our hope for the future of scarring would be that it doesn’t exist – that Elizabeth wouldn’t have to think about it on a daily basis, that her scars didn’t restrict the things that she can do and she could just get on with her life like any other little girl. In the future, we hope that Elizabeth will have the same opportunities as any of our other children so that she can achieve anything she wants in life.

Sinead and Liam

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