A Story of Hope

By: Carmella Hayes

My family and I moved from New York to a Manchester, a little town in New Jersey, which is near the ocean's shore. I remember that fateful night back in December 1970. We all do. There had been a gas leak that ignited, an explosion, then our house engulfed in flames. My mother was at her friend's house that night when she heard over her friend's short-wave radio, her friend worked for the rescue squad, that there was a house fire. Mom said she just knew it was her house. My mother had just told her friend that she thought she smelled gas in the house. Mom's friend was just about to pick up the phone when it rang. She answered it and found out that the fire was at our house. My mother went running down the road to find her house ablaze. "My babies!" She cried. Father, was unable to save us and he jumped out of the second story window (he survived). I was badly burned and was hele-ported to Shriners' Burn Center in Boston, Massachusetts.


The next day, all our friends and the whole town read about the fire in the local newspapers. They got a picture of my little brother, with burns all over his little body and published it in the newspapers. My eldest brother, who was 7 at the time, escaped unharmed. My oldest sister Julie, who was 6, died of smoke inhalation.

I went into a coma and did not wake up for 5 months. When I awoke, I had a feeding tube, colostomy bag, monitoring machines and intravenous lines. Eighty percent of my body had 3rd degree burns. I felt like I was imprisoned in scars. Immediately I began to wonder if I would ever get paroled. What would it take, to be paroled, good behavior, faith? What was I to learn from this?

The doctors told my mother, that I would never walk again. The doctors were wrong. Every chance my mother had, she made me get around by myself. Every time my father picked me up to carry me up the stairs, my mother made him put me down. "Let her walk." She would say. I had to drag myself up those stairs. But soon after, I was walking, and then running up and down those stairs. I had to relearn who my family was. The doctors said I wouldn't remember anything, not even the night fire. But I did remember that night, and for many years I re-lived it over and over again in nightmares and I also knew, that this was not my body. The skin grafts and hospital stays were constant.

A short time after I awoke, my family told me about the donations that poured in from the community, furniture, dishes, clothes, televisions, etc.. The thousands of dollars that had been collected for us, was done by an individual managing a fundraising campaign. When I found out that we received everything, but the money, my mother told me that the fund raising individual, ran off with it. That matter didn't seem important at the time since my mother had a family to rebuild and move forward. When we all arrived home, my mother had us use a variety of soaps on the market. Each one would cause me, my brother and one of my sisters, to break out all over in rashes and dry my skin out. I had continuous bleeding and oozing sores. I found the healing time, pain and severe itching to be a major physical and psychological test. Many nights for years I couldn't sleep because of these scars and the lengthy healing process. During the next eight years, for me, my brother and one of my sisters, as soon as the area healed, it was time to go back to the hospital for more grafting.

During the recovery process, I knew that my Mother was a strong woman and she would be able to manage taking care of 4 very badly burned children. Every time Christmas comes around, I think back to my many hospital rooms. I think of the bandages and many others who were suffering in the same state I was in. Some even worse then me. I remember the "Battle Scars" on every part of the body. Some of them had even lost their faces. Today I still cry for them. What can I do to help us all? My Mother enrolled in school for nursing which seemed natural. When she was not in her nursing books or encyclopedias, I pored over them in interest. I could stomach the many explicit pictures and descriptions of diseases. I was greatly interested in skin trauma and scaring and read up on them wanting to understand the mystery of this skin we are in. My mother started to research herbs and their natural healing properties. I read up on that with great interest. I started to see hope. My mother started bathing us all in witch hazel and using many other herbs in our healing regimen. Finally we were able to feel the relief.

Over the years I've always been a fighter. This experience has taught me how important it is to be just that. What really built up inside me was the reaction of so many people who were and still are concerned about my tragedy. Some of these people felt sorry for me. In school most of the children were mean. They called me such things as burny, burnt toast, etc.. I was sure I wasn't going to be stuck in this skin, these scars are not supposed to be here. They're not natural.

When I came of age, I concluded that maybe I should have plastic surgery. I remember during a consultation, the doctor and I discussed the different types of procedures offered. One was putting something under my skin to stretch it and grow for up to 8 months to a year. Then the doctor would cut the old scared skin and put the stretched skin over it. That procedure bothered me. I didn't sit well with that at all. I thought to myself that with all this technology today and the many strides that man has made in engineering, we can't re-new our own natural covering? The human skin is the largest organ. Have we not come so far into knowing what to do to maintain it? I opted not to do that procedure and left disappointed that day.


During the course of my several sales jobs, I received many written and verbal praises from my customers. I then went for a sales job interview in New York City. I had done an internship there and had done pretty well, working sales on the floor. In the application stage I check that I had scars, the woman in the interview picked up on this and inquired deeper asked me to show her. I felt violated, and uncomfortable about this. She then said and I quote. "Why don't you try to get a job where no one can see you, like a switchboard operator." I was crushed; I left that interview in tears.

I then attempted again to try for plastic surgery. I knew it was to be expensive. I knew of a way to get help with these charges. Shriners has an after care program where alumni of there hospital kept in meetings of support. There were Doctors that volunteered their reconstructive services at a discount or free. First you had to meet with a counselor and explain your situation and story. I remember the depth of what I had told her. I said that this is not my body, when I woke up in this body, I knew I would never accept this. I want my old body back." She told me I had to love and except myself. I must love my scars they're a part of me. Now I can learn how to love me, but I can not and will not except a situation that was forced upon me. I was appalled by the thought of embracing that which God never intended to be as natural. Think about it, I said to her. "I have seen in school, teenagers having nervous breakdowns when a zit would pop up on their face, their whole world seemed to end, I wonder how much stronger I am now because of my situation, how much more I can handle, but still, you see on TV so many commercials telling these teens to get rid of that wicked little pimple. Get rid of it, it's not suppose to be there. And now I have this counselor telling me to be one with my scars.

I will not claim what is not natural, and it's wrong to tell another that their not beautiful with acne (Zits) then turn around and tell them to live at one with my scars. I left that interview in tears. I guess I didn't give her a good enough reason to qualify for receiving treatment to rid myself from my plight. I do know that I am a fighter you have to go against the grain, go against what so many others say to try to crush you politely. If one finds out they have cancer, some may just lay down and die excepting it, others beat it by fighting through it, by way of Doctors advice and procedures, diet or whatever information they can find.


Just a Note: I have people I know in my life, one who was even on his deathbed, the doctor given him no time to live. His daughter was told by my mother to let him drink Dandelion tea every day, 6 months later he's walking around full of life, the cancer receded. This same herb is a great remedy for skin cancer and you can wash in it topically on drink it internally. This is one of the main herbs in DermRenewal. Pharmaceutical companies or Doctors won't tell you that Dandelion herb is a natural cancer remedy. It would ruin their careers if everyone were walking around healthy. But if I have this knowledge, and don't share it, then yes, I'm responsible for millions who suffer and die from it.

I remember a prayer, I prayed to God. I said. "Lord, if you don't heal me overnight with one of your miracles, then just show me how to heal my own skin and I promise that I would pass it on to others." I know he created me, he created skin. If anybody knows how to re-birth it, re-create it, I know He does. And I know He answered me. Because my interest rose up even stronger about natural healing and He challenged me to incorporate all I know and always stay hungry to learn more. I found great interest is specific herbal combinations. Over the years I researched my mother's findings and researched even more in depth and discovered findings on my own. I just knew these herbs can do more. The administration and the combination is the key. I know this is what He is revealing to me. If we only knew the very importance of "specific combinations" Human existence would not be riddled with so many deadly diseases today. My studies have peeked, not just American Herbs research, but also Chinese herbs and Indian herbs and found a wealth of very important facts and information and how other societies secured the common wisdom on natural healing. We are from the earth and what maintains our bodies, as well as our minds come from the earth. There was even a special blend of herbs that the Chinese blended that was only blended for the emperor, that strengthened his internal organs and regenerated his whole body assuring him long life and a healthy reign over the kingdom. I incorporated all that I have learned and I am still searching and growing in the knowledge of the bodies healing powers. Also finding in my studies that particularly in the washing with certain herbs drenches the skin and heals and renews it and is an excellent way of herb remedy delivery. Also finding the powerful combination of certain herbs when combined together they excel each other's healing properties. Over the years I had formulated my own skin care products, not caring to buy what was available on the market, which many products overlook the many needs of the skin and how the needs of it regenerating it self everyday, growing new layers and shedding the old, and how to minister healing to the skin in the cases of severe skin trauma. By way of cuts, bruises, burns, rashes, pimples, wrinkling, etc.. Just like that of a snake when it sheds it's outer and reveals a whole new covering. Our diets, what we put in our bodies and what we put on our skin or neglect to put on our skin raises many problems. I found with my findings on formulating DermRenewal, first the thickness of my scars, thinned, revealing elasticity, softness, smoothness and the hard shine faded. Then I discovered the tone of my skin evened out. New skin grew in, but not how it use to since the scaring. This skin was different. This new skin was soft, pliable, full of elasticity and oil ducts were reborn, discovering the natural moisturizing and skin protecting element skin is suppose to have. Beautiful healthy skin, skin that I'd never thought I find again was revealed. It's an ongoing process of shedding and renewing, it was as if the herbs helped my skin remember who it really was, and its state before the fire, the trauma.


Still so many today needlessly suffer and so many just bare with the pain of their bodies degenerating and just crumble under from the battle scars of life, not really believing that provision has been made in nature to maintain that which was birthed from nature.

I thank God that I didn't listen to the neigh sayers. I know that in tragedy, it is for one to take that as an opportunity to shed the answer, the light on ones situation that in this way would shine illumination on another who is in that very same situation. To lift them up and out of their pit of desperation in all to bless others. To experience is to live, but also in this life, let us give, more insight, more knowledge, to answer the many questions that still remain. Just know in your heart, there has to be an answer for me, I will search and if provision is not made I will create that which is healing to the masses. For what you accomplish will benefit many generations to come.

Remember: You will never stand if you're not willing to take a chance at falling.

Challenge: "If it's not imagined, imagine it. If it's not invented, invent it. That, which has not been conceived, conceive it. Reality comes from that, which had not yet been realized, until now."