By Rafaela Kuznec @RafaelaKuznec

A BURNS survivor who suffered third degree burns over 85 percent of his body has learned to love his scars and is now inspiring others to accept their differences

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Videographer / director: Colin Weatherby
Producer: Rafaela Kuznec, Ruby Coote
Editor: Sonia Estal

At three years old, Kenny Matthews, from California, sustained life-changing injuries in a fire at home which killed his grandfather and left Ken disfigured for life.

Despite being left with burn scars on most of his body, Ken, now 32, is far from self-pity and is “blessed to be alive.”

Ken said that all he remembers from the day when the fire occurred was him playing with his toys and watching TV while his grandfather was sleeping on a couch in the living room.

Ken told Barcroft TV: “All of a sudden I heard this big explosion and that’s when a window just burst out of nowhere and the flames came about.

“My grandfather woke up coughing due to the smoke. 

“And so he had a solution to carry me over the window where the fire was coming from.

“I had no choice but to go through the fire in order for me to live.

“As I was being carried out the window, the fire burned almost everything on me including my shirt, pants, and skin … everything!”

Sadly, shortly after the ambulance arrived, his grandfather was pronounced dead.

Ken said: “He risked his life to save mine.”

The blaze had burned over 85 percent of Ken’s skin, demolished his left leg and melted his fingers.

Since the accident, Ken has had over 200 reconstructive surgeries.

However, Ken said he is happy to be alive and added: “Most kids that get burned at a young age don’t survive at all.

“And I’m just blessed to be here.”

Although, according to the young man, he has never been bullied psychically, his family has always treated him as an outsider.

Ken said: “Nothing can embarrass you unless you let it, don't be so sensitive, just laugh it off, just keep moving on.

“People are going to judge you regardless of what you do. 

“Everybody gets judged by everybody, nobody's perfect.”

Ken frequently posts pictures of himself on Instagram and speaks about how his burns have affected his life.

He has gained over 163,000 followers on his social media.

Ken said: “I just use it as a platform to inspire people and to break barriers, set new ground.

“To show people physically you could do anything.”

Ken’s friend, Glen Paige, said that Ken has been a huge inspiration for him.

He told Barcroft TV: “I appreciate everything he is doing. 

“He has actually given me confidence in a lot of areas, just to overcome a lot of things in my life.

“And I feel that he is a big inspiration to me and to a lot of people around him.”

Despite all the positivity that Ken gets from his followers and his friends, Ken admitted: “I sometimes wish I hadn't gone through that.

“But then again, every challenge you have in your life is there for a reason - to make you stronger.

“God will put his soldiers through his toughest battles.

“I feel like if I hadn't gone through what I've gone through, I wouldn't be the guy that I am today.”

He added: “I’ve learned not to compare myself to others because the only person that you should be in comparison is yourself.

“If I had any advice to give my burn survivors or people that are suffering from low self-esteem physically, just remember, your you're not alone.

“Don't let people degrade you because of what you look like physically.

“You know we're all different physically and mentally.

“Don't let society pressure you because you look a certain way, it's not worth it.

“Beauty doesn't mean to have a pretty handsome gloom face.

“If you have a consistent mind, a dope heart and a beautiful soul that's beautiful.”