One Year Later, Burned Teen Feels "Amazing"

Michael Brewer talks about how he was able to recover so quickly

By Brian Hamacher
|  Tuesday, Oct 12, 2010  |  Updated 11:01 AM EDT
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Michael Brewer in Photos

NBCMiami.com

Michael Brewer at his 16th birthday party at Independence Hall in WIlton Manors.

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Brewer's Birthday

It's been a year since Michael Brewer was lit on fire by classmates.
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Calling his recovery "amazing," teen burn victim Michael Brewer appeared on the "Today Show" Tuesday morning with his family exactly one year after he was surrounded and set on fire by classmates.

Brewer was in New York with his parents and grandparents a day after celebrating his 16th birthday at a party at Independence Hall Retirement Community in Wilton Manors.

Asked about his quick recovery after suffering burns on over 60 percent of his body the teen said he was able to get through his ordeal with "mostly prayers, belief and family."

It was Oct. 12, 2009, outside a Deerfield Beach apartment building where Brewer was confronted by a group of kids who he thought were his friends.

In what was a dispute over a video game, the boys doused him with rubbing alcohol before lighting him on fire. Brewer was able to dive into a nearby pool to extinguish the flames, but suffered severe burns on nearly two-thirds of his body.

Brewer had extensive surgery, including four skin grafts, and suffered breathing complications after the attack, spending months in the hospital and in physical therapy. He finished his final treatment in September.

Three of the teens accused in the brutal attack have been charged with attempted murder.

Mom Valerie Brewer said Michael's ordeal has affected not just him but the whole family.

"It's not just Michael, it's the whole family, we have a very large family, lots of children, they were all traumatized by this," she said.

Grandmother Reenie Brewer, who has become an outspoken critic of teen violence, said adults have to set an example so that attacks like the one on Michael don't occur.

"I want the grownups, all of us, setting a better example, I want us to love each other, I want us to love the man in the street, everybody," she said. "We are showing them how to behave, if we don't embrace our differences and stop with all this judgment...how are they ever gonna accept each other?"

Valerie Brewer said Michael's doing well at his new school and has been making tremendous strides in the past year.

"He's in a very good place," she said.

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