East Central High senior inspires at pep rally

East Central High senior inspires at pep rally
Ely says every day feels like a blessing. (Photo source: WLOX)

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - East Central High senior Kyle Ely says every day feels like a blessing.

"I look at things very differently now. Now, it's a great day. I don't take things for granted anymore," said Ely at a senior pep rally on Friday.

Ely was camping with family in January when the unthinkable happened.

"We went to a hunting club in Deer Park, Alabama. We would make a fire, something in the gas can wasn't gas, the fire sucked into the gas pan and it exploded," said the teen.

After three months in the hospital, 11 skin grafts surgeries, and months of therapy, Julie Parker, says things are beginning to return to normal for her son.

"I'm highly pleased with the doctors at USA," said Parker. "They were very patient with us, and educational towards us."

Principal Jim Hughey of East Central says he and others have been impressed with Kyle's strength and positive attitude.

"Kyle's made a miraculous recovery, now he's back at school. Last year when the accident happened, it's just amazing the progress he's made," said Hughey.

But, the road to recovery is far from over. Kyle's mother says her son will go to Vanderbilt University Medical Center soon for plastic surgery.

"I have people from therapy, nursing, doctors, even some friends that their friends got burned, it's like 'man, you're making a major recovery, I'm proud," Ely said.

Ely says he looks forward to attending Junior College and learning a trade after he graduates. Additionally, he wants to help spread the message to use extreme caution with fire and gas, saying it only takes one accident to change an entire life.

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