(SPECIAL REPORT) A fiery blast: triumph over tragedy

Published: May. 14, 2019 at 6:38 PM CDT
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A southcentral Kentucky native is using a tragic experience for good.

For Kristie, life for 30 years, was filled with adventure.

"I used to do a lot of kayaking, guitar playing, I used to do a lot of everything," said Young.

It was that fateful Fourth of July in 2015, almost four years prior, when a single firework, symbolizing freedom and festivities, changed the course of Kristie's life forever.

"It was just faulty, rocketed out of the tube sideways and hammered me in the face," explained Young. "A friend attending the celebration, cleared my airways and saved my life, or I would have died on scene."

Kristie was transported to University of Louisville, with signs of life faint and fading.

"They told my father at TJ not to expect me alive at the University of Louisville," said Young.

The firework, which struck Kristie directly in face, shattered her left eye, broke the front portion of her skull and the bones in her upper face.

The accident left Young with a traumatic brain injury.

"By the grace of God I was alive," she said.

She was alive despite the odds, but further obstacles were yet to come.

A stroke, 5 weeks in a coma and 30 major surgeries followed.

"My forehead was all sunk in and people take for granted smacking their forehead. I couldn't wait to that again," said Young.

Over 300 days in the hospital and rehab were the right steps in Kristie's success story, so she too, can take those physical steps on her own once again.

"I'm determined to walk again," said Young.

"I don't know that I would have had the courage or even the strength to done what she's done," said Young's father, Jerry Young.

With injuries that should be gripping Kristie from her once everyday functions- it's determination and family, that keep her keeping on.

"You know those big blow up water slides, inflatable water slides? I sat there all day and I looked and they [family] said, 'Kristie, you're going up there aren't you?' I said yeah I am."

No one goes through life thinking they'll be the victim of a nearly fatal event.

"Never did I dream at 35 I would become disabled," said Young.

But when a chapter in life turns unexpectedly dark, the decisions you make after this climax are critical in shaping the rest of your story.

"I'll wake up in the morning and say 'self, we're awesome,'" said Young.

This positive perspective from Kristie Young is proof that every decision, every step she's made since near death, has been purposeful because she clearly has a purpose left to fulfill.

"Accept what it is, let go of what is was and have faith in what it will be," she said.

"He's got a purpose on this earth for her and I thank God that she's here," said Jerry.

Young is in the process of getting a prosthetic eye at the end of May, and she is thrilled.

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