CHARLOTTE, NC (WJZY) - A child who captured viewers' hearts prepares to meet with plastic surgeons on Wednesday.
Little Emily was severely burned in a backyard explosion and has since overcome surmountable odds. On Tuesday, FOX 46 Charlotte was there as she was reunited with the people who saved her.
"After being burned 60 percent of her body with third-degree burns, this little girl is very strong and very tough," Amy Hinton, Emily's mom, said.
She remembers the day a gas can exploded in her backyard like it was yesterday.
"I got a phone call from my mother-in-law saying that Emily had been burned. She couldn't get the fire to get out, so she put her on the ground and started rolling her through the grass," Emily's mom said.
"I think all of us had our hearts in our throats as we were getting off the truck. We had been told over the radio that it was a gas explosion with a child involved. I have a little one myself who's now ten. That's all I could think of afterwards. That could have been my child and trying to relate to how her parents felt," said Brian Shelton, one of the firefighters who helped save the little girl.
Baby Emily spent half a year in the hospital. FOX 46 Charlotte was there when she returned home late March.
"Not being able to hold your child that you've been holding for 14 months or to touch her. It's the most painful thing in the world," Hinton said.
This Tuesday, Emily got to see the firefighters who helped save her life for the first time since the accident.
"Reconnecting with the family and seeing how well she's doing is great for all of us. It puts a smile on our faces to know how well she's doing," one of the crew members said.
"I have to thank everyone: first responders, doctors, God, our whole community, our church, everyone. I could say thank you for the rest of my life a million times," Hinton said.
A big thank you as the baby who fought so hard for her life continues to make great strides as she prepares to celebrate her 2nd birthday in July.
You can help families like Emily's through the Firefighters' Burned Children Fund.
"You can stop by any fire station. There's a little trailer out there where you can put a bag of soda cans in there. They get collected up and funds a very essential organization for what they do for the families and the children," Shelton said.
GoFundMe page for Emily.