MINNEAPOLIS - Kechi Okwuchi wowed the world with her voice as a finalist on America's Got Talent, but her singing talent is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how this young woman inspires.
Okwuchi was recently in town for the Firefighters For Healing Red Tie Gala, and also visited hospitals to meet burn victims and share her story.
Back in December of 2005, Kechi was a teenager living in Nigeria when a flight home from school changed her life forever.
“The next thing I remember is just metal like scrapping very irritating sound in my ears and then I blacked out and the next thing I remember is waking up in a hospital in south Africa 5 weeks later,” Kechi said.
Kechi was just one of two survivors from a plane crash that claimed the lives of 107 people.
“When I heard the news that I was the only kid who survived from my school, probably the most devastating moment in my life,” Kechi said.
She and her family relocated to the United States for treatment, where Kechi spent months in the hospital after suffering 3rd degree burns to more than 65-percent of her body.
What helped her get through an agonizing recovery? Music.
“That was just a really fun way to escape the pain and the itching and all that stuff that came with recovery,” Kechi said. “That’s when I started singing seriously.”
It was that passion that brought her to the main stage of Americas Got Talent, where she wowed judges time and time again. As important as the singing was the platform AGT gave her to speak about being a burn survivor.
“I'm just grateful and so humbled to be able to represent hope and a future where people have been burned,” said Kechi.