WARNING SHOCKING IMAGES: ‘Don’t let anything hold you back’ – Derbyshire woman who suffered severe burns as a toddler shares her story to inspire others

Roxy Rhodes was just two-years-old when she fell into a bath full of scalding hot water at home.

Monday, 1st August 2022, 4:20 pm

The tragic accident in 1987 left her with 70 per cent burns to her entire body, so much that her organs began to shut down and large parts of her skin were peeling off.

Since then, Roxy has had numerous operations and skin grafts in a road to recovery that continued into her early twenties.

But she has never let the scars hold her back and has always embraced them thanks to her parents.

Roxy Rhodes suffered 70 per cent burns in a freak accident when she was scalded at home aged two.

The 37-year-old, who lives in Clowne with her husband and two children, established a successful private Mental Health Therapy practice in 2015 and champions other women to be the best they can be.

She has now shared details of her story to inspire others to ‘start living life on your terms’ and not let anything hold them back.

Mum-of-two Roxy said: “We lived in a cul-de-sac in Renishaw and it was the old days with the coal fires so the water was screaming hot.

"My mum, she was only 22, started running a bath and my little sister started crying so she walked out the bathroom and didn’t click the door shut properly – it was something that tiny.

Roxy's organs began to shut down and her skin was hanging off after the accident

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"I just trotted in and apparently leaned the weighing scales against the side of the bath to climb and reach for something… they tipped and I fell in.

"I was the 70 per cent burned – at the time if an adult was 50 per cent they were definitely going to die. I was rushed to Chesterfield Royal Hospital who refused to take me [because of how severe the burns were] so they took me to Sheffield’s Northern General as that had a specialist burns unit.

"I was in intensive care for three months solid and then I was moved onto the burns unit. All my organs shut down, never mind my skin.”

Roxy with her uncle Glyn who raised cash for the burn's unit which saved her life

And when it became clear that she was miraculously fighting and her organs began to slowly work again, Roxy says her parents were dealt the news that she would have to have her feet and hands amputated to survive, and that she would never walk, never be able to go in the sun, or never lead a ‘normal life’ again.

"It was a pretty scary prognosis,” Roxy added. “My poor little sister was six-months-old when it happened so she basically had to grow up with my grandparents.

"My mum was at the hospital but she was ace through it all and so proud of me.

"My dad worked down a pit. We were a proper poor family, so he had to keep going to work as much as possible.

A clipping from the Derbyshire Times shows how young Roxy thanked doctors for saving her life

“I often say I grew up in hospital because I was in and out of Sheffield Children’s by then, as I got moved over when it was skin grafts rather than burns.

"I had a group of nurses that knew me and had the loveliest team because I was literally there all the time.”

Roxy remained unfazed and continued to defy doctors’ expectations throughout her childhood – thankfully not needing any amputations.

“I have a lot to thank my parents for here actually,” Roxy said. “They never covered me up. They refused to let me wear long clothes to hide myself away, and so I never bought into the idea that I should.

"I probably didn’t really know that I was even that different until I went to secondary school when I was ‘famously’ recognised on day one as ‘that girl with the scars who plays in all the sports teams!’

"I had friends my whole life. I rarely remember not having a boyfriend. I loved school and was smart, sarcastic and sporty.”

Business woman and mental health therapist Roxy Rhodes has shared details of her accident to inspire others

She added: “I have defied doctors’ expectations in every way. They said I’d never walk, I did all of that. They said I’d never go in the sun, whereas I got married in Mexico and I tan beautifully.

"Literally every single thing the doctors said I couldn’t do, I’ve done everything and more.

“I’ve always hated being told what to do I think because I’ve had a lot of it in my life, being told to behave a certain way through operations etcetera, I’ve always fought that.

"But I also think it shaped my career choices in the end.”

Understandably, Roxy dreamed of becoming a nurse growing up to follow in the footsteps of those that once supported her at hospital.

So when she was 28 – and had met her now-husband – she ditched the corporate world and applied for a nursing degree.

However the universe had other ideas when, in December 2013, Roxy discovered she was pregnant.

She could not envisage herself working 13-hour shifts as a student nurse so instead opted to train in mental health before launching ‘Roxy Rhodes Therapy’, where she often helps women who are ‘just a bit stuck’.

"It fills my soul to be helping other people grow,” she said. “I tend to work with women with anxiety and depression mostly but it moves a lot into coaching as well, women who are just a bit stuck.

"It’s all mindset. I’ve got a bit of movement running at the moment called ‘no good excuse’.

"It feeds around the idea that we’ve all got really valid excuses that stop us doing things – and I think this is where sharing my story started.

"We’ve all got them; our weight, a scar we don’t want people to see. We’ve all got a real reason that stops us doing things and they’re all valid but it’s not a good enough excuse.

"Don’t dim your fire, don’t try to fit in and don’t let anything hold you back. Go after your dreams all the way.”

Entrepreneur Roxy also offers support to women hoping to build their own businesses alongside her private mental health practice.

For more information on either visit www.roxyrhodes.co.uk/.

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Roxy's parents were told she would die after the horror accident in 1987
Business woman and entrepreneur Roxy Rhodes is now hoping to inspire others by sharing her story
Roxy featured in The Star after the horror accident