Plane crash survivor burned over most of her body graduates college

HOUSTON -- Kechi Okwuchi survived a plane crash in 2005 in Nigeria that killed 107 people, including her close friend who was sitting next to her on that plane.

She said, "I remember just saying I don't know, but I think we should pray or something, I don't know. We actually never got a chance. That's the last memory I have before I blacked out."

Kechi was one of only two survivors on that plane. Medical treatments at the Shriner's Hospital in Galveston brought her to the US. She was burned over most of her body. Kechi has had more than 100 surgeries, including skin grafts. Doctors placed pins to support her hands.

Then, Kechi started school at the University of Saint Thomas. There are challenges.

"I don't want to always be thinking people are probably staring at me like crazy right now. If I catch someone staring, I just smile," she said.

Kechi's second chance at life transformed normal fears into why not? She competed to give the commencement speech at St. Thomas and won. She will deliver the speech this Saturday when she graduates with a degree in economics and marketing.
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