Creates awareness, raises money and educates the public about the needs and struggles of Children who are Burn Victims.
A Note from Ty:
My name is Ty Bates and I have a story that mostly only my family and longtime friends know about; an event that shaped my life into what it is today. To understand my story let me tell you a little bit about where it all started.
I grew up in Hampton, Ga on a piece of land that is covered in trees, swamps, creeks, hills and the potential to get into trouble at every turn. I have 2 brothers…one older and one younger…a younger sister, and no shortage of
friends that would always be hanging around. As a kid, my siblings and I played every sport there is to stay entertained, or we had to come up with our own ideas. More often than not, these “ideas” were usually not smart or safe. We were kids though. It’s not fun if there’s not at least a little danger involved, right?!
Little did I know, when I was 9 years old, in the middle of my fourth grade year, one night would change the direction of my life for good. As boys living out in the woods, it was not uncommon to have a campfire in our front yard from time to time. One night my brothers and our best friends, a family with 3 boys all the same age as us, decided to have one of these campfires. As you know, gasoline will start a campfire up pretty fast. Common sense, right?! That’s what we thought too! I know what you’re thinking, this is where I’m going to tell you it all went wrong. Actually, that’s not the case. Not paying attention, some of this gasoline got on the nylon shorts I was wearing, but we continued to hang out and have a good night by the fire. As the night ended, we began to tend to the fire to make sure it did not spread to the rest of the yard and ignite the woods we lived in. The smart thing would be to throw sand around the edges or to smother it with water. That’s not what we did. So as we used our shoes to stomp the edges and shuffle the coal into the center of the campfire a spark flew up and ignited the nylon shorts I had on. Now I’m in trouble. My first instincts kicked in and sadly they were not the ones you are taught in school. I began to run around our yard/pasture frantically mixing in a very brief “stop, drop and roll” between sprints. It was not until I was tackled by my older brother when we realized what had happened. I was badly burned and rushed into my house where 911 was called. As my dad threw me in a bathtub and began to run water all over my leg, we realized this was a very serious burn. The nylon shorts had ignited and melted to my leg and continued to cause more burns even after the fire had been put out. I ended up with 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree burns on over 60 percent of my right leg. After long stays in the hospital and 3 or 4 surgeries, my recovery had really just begun.
My usual routines of football, baseball and basketball practices after school were put on hold for a while. I needed a new hobby. Not being as mobile and active as I once was, I spent a lot of time in my room listening to music and singing along. I’d forgotten about the intercom system installed in my room that played in my parent’s room. My mom heard me singing and thought there was potential for me to be good at something besides sports. They bought me a small PA system that I kept in my room and used to fill up my time. I began writing and singing and learning songs but I was too shy to even sing them in front of my family.
My leg fully recovered and I had discovered a new talent of mine that has taken me further than my basketball career ever could have. I play music full time now and live in the country music capital of the world, Nashville, Tennessee. I’ve been chasing my dream of being a country music star ever since. I’ve had the opportunity of meeting many country legends like Brooks and Dunn and John Rich and also getting to share the stage with stars like Jake Owen, Lonestar and many more.
Without the event that happened that crazy night, I might never have made time to discover what my true calling is. I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason, and God has perfect timing for my life. I couldn’t imagine my life not playing music, so I don’t look at that night as a tragic event. I look at it as a blessing and God showing me the path He already knew I was meant for. Thank you for listening and letting me share my story with you. I hope it inspires you to take your circumstances and think outside the box and turn an unfortunate event into an unexpected opportunity.