Jordan, Chandra and Trae Berns always turn heads whenever they’re out in public with each other. The Texas triplets never fail to catch the eyes of strangers. These days, those stares are due to their beautiful looks, however, that wasn’t always the case.
On September 21, 1988, a suspicious fire destroyed their home in North Richmond Hills, Texas, when they were 17 months old. Their father, Scott, was able to rescue the three sisters through their bedroom window. Unfortunately, their mother, Patti, was found unconscious in a back room. She was rushed to the hospital in critical condition from smoke inhalation, and tragically died three days later. She was only 27-years-old.
After escaping the fire, the girls had third-degree burns on their hands, arms, face, back and chest.
“They were so bad we didn’t know if they were going to live or not. It was horrible, just very traumatic,” said girls’ maternal grandmother, Sue Dusek.
Over the years, they were forced to have numerous surgeries and skin grafts to mend their wounds, as well as countless hours of physical therapy. As you can imagine, they were constantly teased by other children about their burns and scars.
Despite the fact that the physical pain and scars from the traumatic event began healing over time, the emotional anguish of living without their mother persisted. Things only worsened when they were four-years-old. Prosecutors actually determined that the fire that killed her wasn’t an accident, but arson. Their father, a long-term drug addict, was accused of purposely starting the blaze. He went to trial and was later acquitted.
When they were 16, he died from a drug overdose.
Through these agonizing struggles, they relied on one another for strength, just like they always had. When they were just babies, it wasn’t uncommon for them to be so inseparable that they’d all climb into one crib and sleep holding onto each other.
Together the Berns triplets decided to try a laser treatment that would potentially mend their burn scars. Dr. Jill Waibel offered to do the treatment completely free of charge. The Lumenis laser works by creating millions of microscopic tunnels in the scarred tissue to stimulate collagen growth and tighten the skin. One laser is used to vaporize scar tissue, while the other smooths out the remaining skin.
As you can see, it worked wonders for them.
The Berns sisters are now using their harrowing experience to provide others with emotional and medical support. In 2009, they started the Three for Hope Foundation to help burn survivors and their families.