At the launch of the Friends of the Fiona Wood Foundation in Swanbourne last Wednesday, Melissa recounted the agonising pain she felt after spilling boiling wax on her legs.
Melissa was admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital when she was 13, where she spent 14 days in the burns unit and had a skin graft completed by City Beach resident Dr Fiona Wood.
She has since had five surgeries on her leg and will likely need more in the future.
The Forrestfield resident and Darling Range Sports College student said her perspective on life had changed because of her experience and she hoped to pursue a career in medicine or research.
“Going through burns, you have to grow up a lot quicker and accept that this is part of your life,” Melissa said.
“You can’t think about the person you would have become; you have to accept who you are and I’m proud of the person I’ve become.”
The Fiona Wood Foundation, based at Fiona Stanley Hospital, launched its regular giving program with an address from director Dr Wood.
Dr Wood, who is a consultant plastic surgeon at Fiona Stanley Hospital and previously headed the burns unit at Royal Perth Hospital, described herself as a “rabid optimist”.
“We’re small, isolated and remote in Perth but is that any reason we shouldn’t be the best (in burns research)?” Dr Wood said.