Oklahoma Teen Beats The Odds 15 Years After Severe Burn

Tuesday, May 20th 2014, 10:52 pm
By: News 9

Fifteen years ago, a little girl from Warr Acres was badly burned in a flash fire inside her garage.

Doctors and nurses did not expect her to make it through the night, but Jenna Bullen survived and just graduated from high school.

It is hard to believe it has been 15 years. Jenna has had to undergo countless surgeries, but through it all, she has remained strong and resilient and tries to lead a normal life.

We caught up with her as she was getting ready for her senior prom.

Turns out, she is just like any other teenage girl -- getting all dolled up for her big night at the Route 66 Hair Salon in nearby Bethany.

This senior prom is extra special for Jenna and her entire family. It's a moment in time they never thought they'd see back in 1999.

"Its been a roller coaster," said Jenna Bullen. "I've had ups and downs. I'm just ready to get out of school!"

We have followed Jenna's journey every step of the way. From those first few wobbly steps she took after getting out of the Shriner Burn hospital, to her fancy footwork on the soccer field several years later.

Jenna has been thankful for it all and so has her family, but she says what keeps her going are the friends she's made along the way.

"My friends are always there for me," said Bullen. "And I can talk to them anytime I want. And I just keep on going because of them."

Brandon is one of her dearest friends. They met at burn camp in Colorado, and he is her date to this year's prom.

"There's nothing wrong with us on the inside," said Bullen. "We just look different."

Jenna says she's used to the stares, and that it doesn't really bother her anymore, because she knows it's what's on the inside that counts.

Jenna's dream is to one day become a motivational speaker and travel around the country and the world to teach other people about burn camps and burn survivors and what they struggle with on a daily basis.

"Sometimes, I don't wear shorts to school, because people stare and people notice," said Bullen. "But at camps, it's just normal. It's like we are not burned. We're our own society pretty much."

Jenna would actually like to start a burn camp of her own in parts of the world that may not have one. That way she can motivate and inspire other burn survivors just like her and Brandon. For now, she is just taking in this special moment in her life. A snapshot in time that she and her family will treasure for years to come, on a night she will never forget.

Jenna just graduated from Putnam City High School. She tells News 9 she plans to take some time off from both school and from her summertime surgeries. She plans to attend UCO in the fall and major in communications.