Kechi Okwuchi is a survivor. In 2005, she boarded a plane from Abuja to Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and experienced a devastating plane crash. Kechi was one of only two survivors; the crash killed 107 passengers.
Kechi was critically injured, however, and has since undergone 100 surgeries to repair her skin. “I know from experience that not only will God see me through the procedure, He’ll also see me through the recuperation,” Kechi posted, at the time.
Getting wheeled in for a 6-hour surgery. Thank you Lord for making it possible.
Since 2005, Kechi’s bravery and resolve has become a truly inspirational story. She has never let her traumatic experience hold her back. Kechi graduated from college as a star student; she was inducted into six academic honor societies and was named the most outstanding student in her major, Economics.
Kechi was proving to the world that she was a woman to be reckoned with.
As a plane crash survivor who bears physical evidence of her trauma, Kechi has, perhaps predictably, had to suffer life under the scrutiny of the public since 2005. But she is relentlessly positive: “I always get those awkward stares … if the situation were reversed and someone who was burned like me walked past me on the street, I would most likely be inclined to look at least once; it’s human nature to be curious,” she said, with maturity. “So I don’t begrudge anyone who stares.”
Maybe you see the difference, maybe you don’t, personally I’m overwhelmed. All I can say is that time may not heal all wounds…but by God, it sure helps🙏🏼😌#tenyearchallenge
Graduation proved to be the first of many goals that Kechi had set for herself.
During Kechi’s recovery, her mom had always sung to her to keep her spirits high. Little did she know it at the time but she was nurturing a seed of inspiration in Kechi; the brave young woman wanted to compete on America’s Got Talent.
Fast-forward to 2016 and Kechi’s dreams were coming true: she was a finalist on the 12th season of the biggest talent show in the country. Naturally, in hearing her story and sensing her pervasive strength and beauty, the judges and the crowd fell in love with her. And her voice.
Judge Howie Mandel even called her “one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met in my life.”
Look at my eyes swollen from so much crying😂😂😂😂😂Going on #AGTChampions was, for me, a chance to show the world a Kechi…
So it may come as no surprise that the talented and popular Kechi was called back to return for this year’s America’s Got Talent: Champions season! The season will showcase the best-of-the-best of America’s talent from past episodes. Kechi performed a heart-wrenching rendition of Calum Scott’s “You Are The Reason,” to wild applause.
A touched Howie Mandel, remembering his fondness for Kechi, told the stunned girl that she was a “champion of life.” We couldn’t agree more.
The man who heard something in me, in my voice, that I sometimes find difficulty hearing myself. Thank Simon Cowell, for using your America's Got Talent platform to change my life.#AGTChampions#agt
But maybe the biggest compliment of all came from Kechi’s longtime champion, Simon Cowell, who leaned over and hit the golden buzzer, reducing the overwhelmed singer to tears.
In doing so, Simon has catapulted Kechi and her effervescent star quality straight to the Champions finals. She will compete against superstars Susan Boyle and Angelica Hale, but we’ve no doubt that her now-trademark bravery and stoicism will keep her nerves at bay.
Kechi Okwuchi, you are an inspiration.
Watch the emotional video of Kechi’s golden buzzer win, below.
Are you rooting for Kechi? Like, share, and leave your comments for us below! We’d love to hear what you think about Kechi’s extraordinary journey.