Burned in Fire as Infants, Triplets Try to Erase Scars of Their Painful Past

At the time, the triplets were living with Dusek and she shielded them from the flurry of news reports about their father. "We just didn't talk about it ... They'd already been through so much that I didn't want them to have to face all that," she said.

Chandra, Jordan and Trae frequently endured ridicule and misunderstanding when they left home.

Many of the jokes were obvious. "One girl, I remember she said, 'you know, your last name suits you well,'" said Jordan. "Children can be very mean."

As cruel as kids can be, some of the most egregious behavior came from adults. "I remember one time we were at this public pool swimming and this mother, her kids were playing with us in the pool and she grabbed her kids up and she was like, 'Don't play with these kids ... this is what happens when you play with fire.'" recalled Jordan.

Like many other teenagers, the triplets became increasingly insecure in high school, and the stares became harder to bear. In order to cope, the girls used heavy makeup and long sleeves to hide their scars.

The triplets also missed out on the fun of dating. "If we had a little crush on somebody or, you know, on some guy, you know, it would get back to us, 'oh, yeah, he thinks you're pretty but, you know, you have burns,'" said Jordan.

Through it all, the triplets looked forward to the future, hoping that new technology would eventually be able to remedy their scars.

One night, a glimmer of hope arrived. The triplets stumbled across a story online about a woman who was burned in a grease fire and received laser treatments to treat her scars. She had been treated by Dr. Jill Waibel of the Palm Beach Esthetic Dermatology & Laser Center in Palm Beach, Fla.

A pioneer in treating burns, Waibel is just as sensitive to the emotional journey of burn victims.

"Scarring can be psychologically traumatic for any patient ... bad scars remind that patient over and over about an event that happened," she said.

Their Scars Healing, Triplets Look to the Future

Unable to contain her excitement, Trae called Waibel's office and left her a voice mail detailing the triplets' story. The girls waited anxiously for a response and soon received the call they had waited for -- Waibel wanted to set up a consultation.

A few weeks later, the girls and their grandmother made the two-day journey to Waibel's office. "We had such high hopes and we were so excited, we could barely contain ourselves," Jordan said.

The triplets arrived at Waibel's office with excitement and anxiety for the treatment, hoping it would make a difference. After the meeting, the triplets were greeted with an even bigger surprise: Lumenis -- the laser company, was going to pay for each girls' procedure.

With nerves running high, Waibel was determined to help the girls heal their 20-year-old burns, something that is even harder than it sounds. Thick, deep, and inflexible, burn scars are the most difficult skin wound to treat. According to Waibel, over the past 50 years, scientists have researched new technologies to treat burn scars, but nothing has worked to reduce the appearance of these scars.

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