AJ Pritchard's girlfriend Abbie Quinnen steps out for first time since suffering burns in horrific fireball accident
AJ Pritchard's girlfriend Abbie Quinnen bravely stepped out today for the first time since suffering painful third-degree burns in a horrific fireball accident.
The dancer, 23, had been anxious about leaving the house ever since a life hack video went horribly wrong in January and left her engulfed in flames.
However, with supportive AJ by her side she looked upbeat as she went for an outdoor stroll.
Abbie wore a black compression bandage around her neck to protect her injuries as they continue to heal.
She covered up with a cap, a chunky winter coat and scarf, while former Strictly star AJ kept things casual in a navy jacket and light blue jeans.
Last week The Sun revealed how Abbie begged to know if AJ still loved her after her face was badly burned.
Heroic AJ acted fast to put out the blaze and smothered Abbie in wet towels, before calling 999.
The nightmare unfolded as the couple filmed themselves using a rope dipped in chemicals to try and cut through a wine bottle to make a vase.
When they set light to the rope, the bottle exploded and sent Abbie up in flames.
Speaking to The Sun, Abbie said: “AJ and I just wanted to do the life hack video for fans to watch at home. It was a popular video online so we were doing a test-run in the kitchen that I was going to film.
“My hair caught fire and within seconds the flames had spread to my top and my body was alight.
“It was such a shock, I was panicking and screaming. I dropped down to the floor and I was rolling to try to put out the fire.
“I saw my life flash before my eyes. I never thought something like that would happen to me.
“The first thing I said to AJ was, ‘Is my face going to be OK? Are you still going to love me?’
“I kept repeating this to him and I was shaking in horror.”
The stress of the incident left her unable to sleep and eat and needing to take 27 tablets a day to deal with the pain.
She suffered second-degree burns on her face and third-degree burns on her body, which would see her having three skin grafts.
AJ dialled 999 and was told the ambulance would take too long so his brother Curtis, 25 and also a dancer, drove them to Ealing Hospital in West London.
Abbie said: “AJ was comforting me — I couldn’t speak as I was in so much shock. I was shaking, and I just kept asking if he would still love me. I was wearing a dressing gown and leggings.
“My face was burning hot, it felt very painful. I was lucky it missed my eye.
“I had massive blisters filled with water on my chest, neck and face and they had to pop them and clean the areas.!
Abbie spent five days in hospital and AJ has cared for her ever since, changing her bandages and reassuring her she will be ok.
She was told she would need a skin graft to give her scars the best chance of healing.
She said: “I had an amazing surgeon who told me I needed to decide where to take my donor skin from, the back of my head or the other side of my rib cage.
“I couldn’t cope with shaving my head and losing more hair, so we went for my rib cage.”
But when the surgeon operated to perform the grafts, they found Abbie had an infection — so they were forced to use allografts (donor skin) instead of her own.
This put Abbie in emotional turmoil. She said: “I would cry in the night before each operation.
“Every time I had an operation that didn’t work with my own skin I would wake up shaking, I was so worried I wouldn’t heal.
“I remember thinking, ‘Haven’t I been through enough? Why is this happening to me?’ But I tried to stay positive.”
Happily, Abbie’s third graft was able to be done with skin from her rib cage on seven patches, including her arm, torso and neck.
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