A courageous burn survivor in Massachusetts has received a doll that looks just like her — scars and all — to mark one year since the horrific accident that changed her life forever.
Sophie Lunstead was just 5 years old when she attempted to strain boiling water while making macaroni and cheese with her older brother.
"When I was upstairs, I suddenly heard screaming and ran downstairs to find Sophie hysterically crying by the door,” the girl's mother, Nichole, told Caters News.
Lunstead slipped and the scorching water spilled over her body, burning 40 percent of it.
When she was taken to Shriners Hospital, she had second- to fourth-degree burns from the waist down and on her hands.
"There was a chance she could die but she battled on," Nichole said. "She surpassed doctors' expectations frequently."
Because of the skin grafts on her legs, she would have to learn to walk again.
Her goal was to make it home for her sixth birthday, and the hospital told her she could only leave if she could walk up a flight of stairs.
The determination paid off when she walked an entire month earlier than expected.
"Despite all of her struggles, she made it happen,” Nichole said.
Now 7 and back in school, Sophie struts off her scars, or as she calls them, "scales of a mermaid," despite bullying she receives from some other students.
Nichole said Sophie’s scars get called “disgusting” and “weird,” but her daughter still flaunts her “scales” in shorts and skirts.
"Sophie knows if anyone says anything to her that she should say out loud, 'I'm a survivor and I'm strong,'" she said. "We do all we can to keep her going."
To mark a year since the horrific incident, Nichole presented Sophie with a doll that has the same "mermaid scales."
"She was so overwhelmed when she realized the doll had identical scars and I think it's positive for her to see that on a doll,” Nichole said.
Nichole says the memory is still fresh in her mind, but it reminds her that her daughter is strong and resilient.
"I tell her all the time that she's my hero, this girl touches everyone's hearts when she meets them,” she said.