Kirstie Young, 38, was chatting with her pals at a BBQ when a firework went sideways instead of blasting upwards.
It rocketed into her head and exploded, shattering every bone in her face and leaving her fighting for her life for 41 days in intensive care.
The former factory supervisor lost her left eye and went on to suffer a brain haemorrhage which left her paralysed on her left side.
Kirstie went to on spend a further 273 days in rehab but is still unable to walk or stand unaided. She currently wears an eye patch.
The auntie-of-five from Edmonton, Kentucky, says that it's been extremely difficult to accept her altered appearance.
She said: "I don't remember anything about the night. The last thing I remember is swimming in the pool earlier that day.
"But from what I've been told, no one really knows what went wrong.
"One of the fireworks must have been faulty, because instead of going into the air to explode it went sideways.
"I was just standing in the wrong place at the wrong time."
She had to have surgery to remove the front part of her skull and her injuries were so severe that she says "there were several times when I could not bear to look at myself in the mirror".
"I would ask my nurse to cover up the mirror so I wouldn't have to look at my reflection.
"One thing that was very difficult for me was when I renewed my license. Looking at my new picture was a tough moment.
"It's hard because when you go anywhere, even Walmart, people stare. Kids ask you questions but adults don't."
Kirstie suffered a devastating brain haemorrhage weeks after the accident and now cannot walk or stand unaided, which resulted in her losing her job.
She's been left with just 30 per cent vision in her right eye and she's had to undergo more than 30 surgeries since the horrific accident.
Kristie said: "It was so devastating when I lost my job. I cried for days. I really enjoyed it.
"It wasn't my dream job but I had so much pride in it. When I overheard my dad saying I had lost my job, it was a blow."
One of the most devasting fallouts is that her youngest great-nephew was born four days after her accident, so he has never seen her any other way.
She hopes to have reconstructive surgery in the near future to rebuild her eye socket to the point that she is eligible for a prosthetic eyeball.
Kristie said: "I hope I will be able to get a glass eye, but it will never blink because I don't have an eyelid and the nerves have been damaged.
"I try not to think about it too much."
Despite the tragedy and knock to her confidence, Kristie has managed to find happiness with girlfriend Megan Simpson, 31, who she met four months ago.
"It's exciting and it occupies a lot of my life," she said of the relationship.
According to the Insurance Journal, eight people lost their lives in firework accidents in the USA in 2017, which Kristie said is eight too many.
Kristie is now advocating for better firework safety.
"Those deaths are completely unnecessary and preventable.
"I think we should just avoid fireworks or at least be especially careful with them. Go enjoy the fireworks at a public display rather than at home.
"I would never go near them again that's for sure."
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