VIDEO: A Badly Burned Martial Arts Teen Has A New Fight, This Time To Help Her Mother Beat Cancer
A teenage girl who was severely burned twice as a child, then tormented at school for her appearance and heartbroken by her father’s death has restored her life by becoming a renowned martial artist. Now she’s taking on a new challenge: assisting her mother in raising funds for cancer treatment.
Dilara Sultan Arpaci, 19, will compete in a world championship challenge next year after winning first place in previous competitions. Her thoughts, however, are consumed with her mother’s diagnosis.
Arpaci, the son of a Russian mother and a Turkish father, has scars from two separate injuries. When she was four years old, the majority of her body was scorched when her dress caught fire after her twin brother started playing with a lighter. A kettle of boiling water on the household stove was unintentionally overturned when she was six years old, scorching the left side of her face.
Arpaci had undergone 18 surgeries for the worst of the burns on her face and upper body by the time she was seven years old. Skin from her legs was grafted to some of the most severely injured places.
Arpaci claims that her burn scars made her afraid to leave the house as a child. Other kids made fun of her and bullied her, turning her into a fearful recluse. She claims that her loneliness made her irritated and aggressive. Her mother urged her to try kickboxing as a way to cope with her overwhelming emotions.
Her interest in martial arts grew. Arpaci earned a gold medal in her maiden Turkish competition at the age of ten, only ten months after taking up the sport. Her father died of cancer in that year.
After a two-year hiatus, the Turkish athlete returned at the age of 12 to win the same tournament for the second time, earning her the title of “Kick Boxing Champion of Turkey” in her age group.
Arpaci experimented with Muay Thai in 2017, a combat technique noted for its hard-hitting aggression. The next year, she earned the silver medal at the European Muay Thai Cup, followed by the gold medal in 2019.
Then her mother was diagnosed with cancer. Arpaci started a crowdfunding campaign to help her mother repay a debt she took out to pay her doctors.
Arpaci told Zenger, “We have never been a well-to-do family.” “When I was younger, I. This is a condensed version of the information.