SALT LAKE CITY — B.J. Hoaldridge and his wife, Nicole, count their blessings.
"It's been absolutely incredible," B.J. Hoaldridge said. "I've been completely blown away. I'm amazed by how many good people there are in the world: friends, family (and) complete strangers."
Their 15-year-old daughter, Baylee, was burned from the chest down in Mona, Juab County, on the Fourth of July. The ATV the family had rented tipped on its side and burst into flames. Baylee was in the back stuck in her seat belt until her grandfather got her loose and went back to rescue her father, her parents said.
"She smiles, she cries, she sometimes gets frustrated," B.J. Hoaldridge said. "Sometimes she gets mad, and that's OK."
Sedated for her first month in the hospital, Baylee's parents marvel at her incredible fighting spirit. She saw her wounds for the first time recently as hospital staff cleaned them.
"That's when she discovered what she looked like," B.J. Hoaldridge said. "It just absolutely broke my heart. She was laying on her back and she was looking at her arms, and she was looking at her stomach, and she was looking down at her legs."
Baylee will be in the Burn Unit at University Hospital for six to eight months getting skin grafts and undergoing physical therapy. She's drawing strength from her Facebook page: Be Brave, Baylee.
Kind comments on social media are helping Baylee's parents too. Nicole Hoaldridge gets courage from something her brother told her.
"He whispered into my ear, and he said to me, 'Don't ask why. Ask what,' and that has stuck with me," Nicole Hoaldridge said. "And as I read the comments and to hear people tell us that Baylee has touched their lives in ways they can't even begin to explain to us, and to me, that's the 'what.'"
Edge Homes, who built the family's home in Spanish Fork, surprised them by decorating Baylee's room for free, complete with light switches by her bed with dimmers for easy access.
It's one of the many kind acts that keep the Hoaldridges going as they tell their daughter this:
"You're a survivor. You're going to be OK. It's just going to take time," B.J. Hoaldridge said. "You're going to make it. You're going to be a strong person again. You're going to live a wonderful life."
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