Inspiration

Kim Phuc Phan Thi, Known As "Napalm Girl," Receives Final Burn Treatment 50 Years After The Iconic Image

Kim Phuc Phan Thi, Known As "napalm Girl," Receives Final Burn Treatment 50 Years After The Iconic Image
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Phan Thi Kim Phuc, severely burned by a napalm bomb during the Vietnam War, has received her last skin treatment after 50 years.

The woman's photo went viral and became Pulitzer Prize-winning photo. She was nine when the image, called The Terror of War, was taken. The photo is well known as Napalm Girl.

Kim Phuc is seen screaming, running out to avoid the fire blaze. She talked about this horrific memory, saying:

"We just kept running and running and running for a while. And I cried out, 'Too hot! Too hot!' The soldiers tried to help me. They tried to pour the water over me, and at that moment, I lost consciousness."

Kim did not like the photo, but with a good reason:

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"The first time I saw my picture, after 14 months of being in a hospital, oh my goodness. The first time I saw it, I said, 'What!' and 'Why did he take my picture like that?' I felt so ugly and ashamed because I was naked… I hated that picture … and I feel like, 'Does anyone understand my pain."

The brave girl got help from the photographer, Nick Ut. He left his camera and "took me to the nearest hospital, and I thought he saved my life. I owe him."

She continued:

"He's my hero. Not only did he do his job as a photographer, but also, he did extra as a human being. He helped. Now, I feel like he's a part of my family. That's why I call him Uncle Ut."

Though there was no space for children in the hospital, the photographer threatened the doctors. When they told him to drive them to Saigon, he showed his press badge and said a picture of these kids would be in the newspapers the next day and "if one of them dies, you'll be in trouble."

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The nine-year-old suffered terrible burns and spent a whole year in the hospital.

Additionally, the now-grown woman had to undergo numerous surgeries. Her 12th and final round of laser treatment at the Miami Dermatology and Laser Institute is finally over.

The napalm burns were horrible, but there was more.

Thi's injuries were used by the communist Vietnamese government as "a voice for propaganda" for journalists from other countries.

Thi said:

"The government took me out of school and asked me to work with them. They did not want to listen to me. At that time, I hated that picture. I did not want to be that little girl in the famous picture. I just thought the more that picture got famous, the more it would cost my private life."

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She thought about suicide, as she did not want to be a "war symbol."

The brave girl moved to Canada and established Kim Foundation International. It provides medical assistance and psychological help to children affected by war.

Thi said:

"I am not a victim of war anymore, I am a survivor. I feel like 50 years ago, I was a victim of war, but 50 years later, I was a friend, a helper, a mother, a grandmother, and a survivor calling out for peace."

The brave woman spoke about Ukraine:

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"My heart is broken. My heart is broken for all people who lost their lives, especially children… My mom and I, we cry out every moment thinking what happened to me and my family 50 years ago."

During Thi's childhood, the war destroyed her home and left her family impoverished:

"I had to deal with all the scars and the ugliness and the pain. Not just the deformity but the pain. Also, nightmares, traumatized, fearful."

Thi is a woman of action and she sent a powerful message to the people of Ukraine:

"Hang on there. Don't lose your hope. Don't lose your dream. There are so many people around who will help you. And whatever they say, children can say from the heart, but they need help."