BRAZIL, Ind. (WTHI) - One Clay County, Indiana girl, who survived severe burns in 2011, received some major honors Friday afternoon.
Mayor Brian Wyndham named February 1: Carmen Schleppy day.
Schleppy survived a major burn accident in 2011.
Since then, she's made a huge recovery and donated much of her time to fellow burn victims, and she's getting lots of recognition for her efforts.
Carmen Schleppy, 9, smiled, standing in front of an audience of over 300 people. She wasn't always this carefree.
Two years ago, Carmen's life took a disastrous turn. A fire in 2011 badly burned Carmen.
It happened when her skirt ignited next to a fireplace.
The trauma left Carmen in the hospital for three months. That was followed by numerous surgeries and many hours of therapy.
It was a long road for Carmen and her family to get where they are now.
"It was a lot she went through--the whole family went through--to see her through from beginning to end. The story's not over," Anthony Schleppy, Carmen's father, said. "She continues on with her fundraising efforts."
Now Carmen spends her time helping others.
She visits the burn unit at Riley Hospital for Children . She helps raise money for Hoosier Burn Camp . She's also working with Riley to start a program that sends compression garments to burn survivors in third world countries.
"She knew Riley already did a lot of things and Hoosier Burn Camp. She wanted to be a part of it as well. Just give back for everything that's been done for her," said Anthony.
People who know Carmen say her strong attitude and sweet spirit has pulled her through.
"It makes me proud: her only being nine years old and already doing what she's doing. It's amazing. I just look at it as a preview of things to come," said Anthony.
And through it all, Carmen's thoughts are with other children who are struggling.
"It means a lot to me, and it brings happiness to my heart," said Carmen.
Riley Children's hospital today named Carmen a "Riley Champion". That's an award that recognizes her work for other burn victims.
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