Keith Edmonds is not a victim of child abuse. He is a survivor.

“When something tragic in life happens, you have three choices,” the author and public speaker shared on my “I Love Life” show. “You can bottle it up, develop resentment, or face the situation head-on.”

For Keith it was a choice he was forced to face young. At just 14 months old his mother’s boyfriend held his face to an electric heater, leaving his face covered in gruesome, horrific burns. His mother was told to prepare for the worst. Despite a low chance of survival, Keith recovered, bearing not only an emotional scar but the physical evidence across his face.

It’s not a face he would change. When he was 11-years-=old, Keith was offered total reconstructive surgery---and refused.

“How I look is a part of who I am. It’s how people identify me as Keith. I felt having the surgery might change that.”

Though his upbringing was far from easy, Keith is a survivor of the horrors he was forced to face, and is resilient not just in spite of them but through them.

“Everybody has scars,” Keith told me. “Some wear them outwardly, while some wear them on the inside.”

Today, Keith’s focus is on impacting the lives of children through the creation of the Keith Edmonds Foundation. The mission of the Foundation is to empower child abuse victims to become survivors and shorten transition times through the understanding of forgiveness.

Bearing one’s scars with pride takes courage. No matter what scars they may be, Keith Edmonds is living proof that no matter the obstacle, there’s a way to smile through them.