A man experienced a terrible ordeal as a child, leaving him with severe burns and little chance of survival. He fought to rebuild his life and refused to give up—even when his wife walked out on him.
Nobody should have to face pain and trauma, but sadly people do, and often the victims are children. Horrific ordeals can wreak havoc, but one man turned the turmoil into something else.
In 1986, he endured a tragic accident, suffering 98% burns on his body. Doctors didn’t have much hope for him, but in 2022, he shared his one-of-a-kind story that will leave you in awe.
1% CHANCE OF SURVIVAL
Chris Tomlinson was born a fighter, and before his second birthday, he had to prove it. The youngster caught alight while playing in his family’s shed and experienced anyone’s worst nightmare.
Tomlinson was rushed to the hospital, but severe damage had been done, and it seemed like he wouldn’t make it through the night. With a one percent chance of survival, things looked grim.
To everyone’s astonishment, the brave youngster pulled through and didn’t give up. While he managed to hold onto his life, the journey ahead wasn’t easy. Tomlinson spent many years in and out of the hospital and faced over 200 surgeries.
Despite the devastating experience, Tomlinson showed strength and determination. He shared:
“I always found the positivity in everything. I had this big old smile on my face because I knew God was with me… It wasn’t just by my own strength, it was God who was there for me the whole time.”
Tomlinson grew into an inspiring adult, and when he was told there was a minimal chance he could have kids, he proved people wrong again. He fathered two beautiful daughters, and they adored him.
Sadly, his injuries made it difficult to find a job, and the family faced homelessness. Tomlinson clung to his faith and decided to share his story online.
He didn’t want pity but hoped to encourage conversation and raise awareness for the members of society with disabilities. The response from netizens was unlike anything Tomlinson could ever have imagined.
DEALT ANOTHER DEVASTATING BLOW
Tomlinson became a vessel for change and made people think about how they treat their fellow human beings. He was also grateful for the help from strangers, which helped him keep his head above water.
The dad always tried to provide for his kids, which became an important goal when tragedy struck again. Tomlinson’s wife left him to raise the girls alone—he was heartbroken and worried he might be unable to provide for them.
LOSING HIS WIFE
The single dad said his wife’s decision to walk away from their family was horrible, and he would rather be “burned all over again than to experience that pain.” However, he pulled himself out of the darkness and started to rebuild his life.
He found purpose in his children, and he vowed to do everything he could to be there for them. Tomlinson moved from Massachusetts to his hometown in Florida and actively engaged with the community in person and online.
Sadly, Tomlinson faced prejudice, and people often stared at him because of his appearance. However, he never allowed it to affect him or his mission. He stated:
“It’s a big passion of mine to get my story out there. Again, not for me but to bring the glory to God. A lot of people think God’s not working anymore [but] God does miracles every second, every day.”
HE STRUGGLED TO FIND A JOB
Tomlinson managed to secure various job interviews, but employers regularly told him he wasn’t physically fit for the role. The unemployed father was forced to take his family to a shelter, and it broke his heart.
To his surprise, he found hope and assistance in an unlikely place—Reddit. After posting on the online platform, he gained a community of supporters, and many people also offered to help him financially.
Tomlinson also used the platform to engage with other burn survivors, and he had advice for them. He said: “Life [will] be a little tough, but don’t let it bring you down. Don’t let it hold you down, and [it will] make you stronger.”
THE ONLINE COMMUNITY HELPED HIM
Users sent the father donations via PayPal and helped him provide a stable home for his kids. Tomlinson was also looking forward to getting prosthetic hands and was happy he had the money for gas to get to therapy appointments.
While he was grateful for the influx of love and support, he indicated that it wasn’t his intention when starting the page. He explained:
“I appreciate the help but I did not start this [page] for this. I just wanted to inform people about who I am and what I’ve gone through and the life of someone disabled, again I appreciate everyone’s help.”
HE HAS A GREAT RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS CHILDREN
For many reasons, Tomlinson can be proud of himself, but his most outstanding achievement is being a dad. Raising the girls alone wasn’t easy, and he missed having a “full family.”
He added: “It makes me feel bad because they don’t have a motherly figure. All they have is dad.” Despite having no mom in their lives, Tomlinson is an active and present father that prioritizes their needs.
“Ultimately, I’m all they got, and they’re the first thing that I have to think of with anything, and I want to make sure they’re taken care of, they’re safe, they’re happy,” he continued.
A SHINING EXAMPLE OF RESILIENCE
Tomlinson defied the odds, and he is a shining example of resilience. While his life was marked with many challenges, he chose to see it as an opportunity to learn, grow, and help others. What do you think about his profound journey?
Click here for another inspiring story about a burn victim who changed her life. The woman hated her scars but started seeing the world through new eyes when she had a daughter.