Alabama Football Fan, Burn Victim, Visited By Dre Kirkpatrick

Dec 20, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (27) celebrates after an incompletion during the third quarter of the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi
Dec 20, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (27) celebrates after an incompletion during the third quarter of the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi /

When your name is Crimson, you are destined to become a die-hard Alabama football fan. And if you suffer an unimaginable tragedy, a visit from a former Alabama football player could be just what the doctor ordered.

ICYMI: Bama Bucket List: 25 Things All Crimson Tide Fans Must Do

Born April 15, 2003, 8th grader Crimson Chambers led a pretty typical life. She describes herself as a “laid-back, normal teenage girl”.

“I love the Lord, my family, friends, and animals,” she says. “I love to just be lazy!”

She also happens to be named for the reigning college football national champions, the Alabama Crimson Tide. The daughter of Lance Chambers and Jennifer Gilbreath, she of course loves her namesake. Crimson enjoys watching Alabama football, though she has not yet been able to attend a game.

Everything was moving along smoothly for the happy teen until the night of July 20, 2016.

“My mom realized something was wrong in the house. She heard crackling and smelled smoke,” Crimson recalls. It was at this point that her mother realized the house was on fire and woke up Crimson’s step-father and little sister. Gilbreath then went across the house to Crimson’s room to wake her up.

“I scrambled out of my bed and ran to my door,” the teen says. “I was in front of Mom. When we went down the hall, the flames just rushed at us. We were never actually on fire – the heat is what burned us.”

Crimson and her mother were the only two injured in the fire. Gilbreath suffered second degree burns on her hands and was released from the hospital several hours later. However, Crimson was flown by emergency helicopter to the UAB Burn Center in Birmingham.

The thirteen year old was burned on over 35 percent of her body. She suffered massive third degree burns on her face, arms, hands, fingers, chest, shoulders, and back.

According to her father, Lance, Crimson stayed at Children’s Hospital of Alabama for 5 days. She underwent one surgery to treat the burns before being flown to Shriner’s Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. Once stable at Shriner’s, the teen had four additional surgeries to remove the dead tissue and complete skin grafts.

In the month since the fire – the cause of which is still unknown – much has happened to the beautiful girl with the fantastic name.

Still at Shriner’s in Cincinnati, Crimson has been incredibly brave, working to help her body heal. She completes therapies daily; she can now stand and even walk. Her feeding tube was recently removed, and she is no longer on oxygen or “attached” to any machines, which is an amazing feat for someone who has been through so much.

Word of the young girl’s condition made its way to former Alabama football player, now Cincinnati Bengals cornerback, Dre Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick was touched by Crimson’s story, and Tuesday, August 16, 2016, made a special visit to see her in the hospital.

“Dre brought her the cleats he wore in the NFL playoff game last year,” Lance says. “He signed them for her. He also told her that he was going to put her name somewhere on his jersey for every game this coming season.”

Perhaps a small act of kindness on the part of the former Alabama football CB, the visit meant everything to Crimson and her family. In today’s world, so full of terrible news stories, moments like this prove that there are still good, kind-hearted people out there.

“Knowing that my mom and dad are there with me, and everyone who has prayed for me and my family helps me get through the bad days,” says the courageous teen. As difficult as it has been, Crimson has stayed positive through the entire experience. Her current phone wallpaper is a quote that reads, “I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me.”

Though she still has a way to go before making a full recovery, Crimson is determined to get through it with a smile, and is hoping to get to go to her very first Alabama football game this season.

“I’m going to try to take her to a game this year, ” Lance says. “I will do anything to make that happen.”

If Lance is half as determined as his daughter, there is no doubt Crimson will have that opportunity. With the memory of meeting one of her all-time favorite Alabama football players fresh in her mind, there’s a strong chance that getting to attend that special, first game will be just what the doctor ordered.

Next: The SEC: One Big Dysfunctional Family

*Crimson Chambers’ home is a “total loss”. Friends have set up an account to help with the emergency expenses. Donations, earmarked for the Dan and Jenn Gilbreath Family, may be made at any branch of the Redstone Federal Credit Union.