“Yes, you can approach me.”

How Jayden Fowler got his scars

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Senior Jayden Fowler holding up a sign reading ‘Yes, you can approach me.’ He wishes people would know that his burns are not something they need to be afraid of.

“It wiped out my memory from ages two to seven,” said senior Jayden Fowler. When he was two years old, Fowler was eating dinner with his family at Lake McConaughy, when he fell into a fire pit and suffered serious third degree burns on 17 percent of his body. His father put him in an ice chest, drove him to the hospital, and that became his life for the next two years. He spent three months in the Omaha burn unit, and then went to a hospital in Galveston, Texas. Fowler has had 25 surgeries for his burns since the accident.

“The coolest one was when they stuck my left hand in my stomach,” he said, “it was burned to the point where it needed the stomach cells to attach to my hand to heal.” His doctors put the damaged hand inside the left side of his stomach so it could regrow, and then attempted to reshape it.

Fowler was given a drug to wipe his memory to prevent flashbacks and nightmares of being burned. “I probably did have a childhood, but I don’t remember any of it,” he said, “I really had to restart my whole life, and that’s affected a lot of my personality.” 

Fowler didn’t know who he was, and felt like he switched bodies with someone. “It was like taking my intellectual and what I care about, and putting it in someone else,” he said. “I didn’t know who I was, so I made who I was.”

Fowler showing the scars and burn marks on his palms.

I didn’t know who I was, so I made who I was.”

— JaydenFowler

That’s when he began sketching. “I started drawing what I liked and who I wanted to be,” he said. “That was a really dark and depressing state of my life, but I wasn’t just going to sit around and take it,” he said. 

 

Fowler comparing the size of both his hands. His fingers on his left hand remain shorter than his right, even after surgery.

 

 

One of the hardest parts for Fowler to deal with was the reactions from other people. “I don’t blame them, I would be scared of me too,” he said. Fowler wishes people would understand they have nothing to be afraid of. “I just wish I was wearing a sign that said ‘It’s okay to approach me’ and that people don’ t have to be scared of me.”

A patch of skin from one of Fowler’s surgeries. Fowler often wears a bandana with a fire design around his neck.

However, Fowler would never want his scars to be taken away. “My scars have developed my personality and my values,” he said, “It’s developed what I care about, and what I don’t care about more than any other factor.” 

Fowler likes his burns. He wouldn’t be the same person if they weren’t here and wouldn’t want to live the life that he lives anymore. “If somebody were to take my scars from me I would feel naked, and I wouldn’t feel like me anymore,” he said.