ROYSE CITY — Gloria McCoy fought back tears, hoping her mind wouldn't re-imagine that horror that enveloped her niece, Keylee Latham, on the Fourth of July weekend.
"The hardest part about it is knowing the suffering that she went through, and nobody was there to help her," McCoy said. "Nobody could help her. She was trapped. She was helpless."
Keylee had gone out with friends to ride a 4-wheeler in Royse City. But they lost control and flipped, trapping the 11-year-old girl underneath.
"The little girl who was also with them ran to the closest house,” McCoy said. “Thank God she did.”
But before a neighbor could free Keylee, the ATV exploded in flames.
"He was able to drag her out of the fire... put her out with his bare hands and carry her to safety,” McCoy said.
Keylee's dad arrived minutes later and fought to keep her conscious.
"He said, 'Baby, look at Daddy. Look at Daddy. Daddy's here.' And she said, 'Daddy, I don't want to die.' She said 'Daddy, I want to go to heaven, but not today,'" McCoy recalled.
The family shared an image of Keylee at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. She suffered third and fourth-degree burns on her legs. Her arms have second and third-degree burns.
She lost a toe, might lose her legs below the knee, and infection is almost certain, McCoy said.
On Tuesday, Keylee will undergo a second surgery.
"I want people to know that life can change in an instant,” McCoy said. “The lives of your children can change in an instant.”
Keylee's dad is self-employed as a heavy machinery mechanic who doesn't have medical insurance.
Bake sales and bracelets have helped her family raise $10,000 over the past 10 days. Still, McCoy said, much more is needed — not just money for bills, but prayers to survive.