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America’s Got Talent Finalist Kechi Okwuchi (ep. 466)

Kechi Okwuchi

America’s Got Talent finalist Kechi Okwuchi reminds us that we have the ability to decide what defines each of us on the Live Inspired Podcast with John O’Leary.

I’m honored to share a story of not just surviving impossible odds but thriving in a world that is too often caught up with how we look on the outside rather than seeing that our true value is within.

When Kechi Okwuchi was 16 years old, she was one of just two survivors of a devastating plane crash that killed more than 100 people, many of them her classmates.

Spending months in hospital recovering from the third-degree burns that covered more than 65% of her body, Kechi learned the power of perseverance, unrelenting faith and music’s profound ability to heal.

With courage, honesty and wit, Kechi shares her journey of healing, her fortitude in becoming a finalist on America’s Got Talent and her boldness in choosing to not be defined by her scars.

This conversation will give you the hope, strength and boldness to face life’s challenges directly.

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  • To receive a quality education, Kechi attended Ignatius Loyola Jesuit College, a boarding school located in Abuja, Nigeria.
  • December 10, 2005: Kechi was one of the two survivors of the 109 passengers involved in the Sosoliso Airlines Flight 1145 crash
  • For the five weeks she was in a coma, Kechi used the cycle of her mother’s voice and music to track time.
  • Kechi suffered third-degree burns on 65% of her body
  • During recovery, Kechi’s first significant breakthrough was when even if she didn’t look like herself, she felt like herself.
  • “Whatever I believed about God so far had been shattered by this fact and now I was left sorting through the pieces, trying to make sense of them.”
  • “This is a day that very nearly did not come. But here we are celebrating Kechi. Our miracle child. That’s what she is. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that you’re a living testimony of what God can do. Happy birthday, Kechi.”
  • Get a copy of Kechi Okwuchi’s book More Than My Scars here.

Did you enjoy today’s episode? You’ll love this conversation…

In the span of eight years, Austin Hatch survived two plane crashes that claimed five people closest to him. The second crash left him with brain damage and doctors feared he’d never walk again. And yet, Austin continued to defy odds and went on to play Division I basketball. Hear my conversation with Austin Hatch on ep. 312.


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  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. The Body Keeps the Score by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. Blind and complete trust.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. My laptop.
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
    A. My grandpa.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. My mom says, "Bad things happen to both good and bad people. Being Christian doesn't exempt you from suffering but it gives you a place to go to when bad things happen."
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. Stop going through the motions, take your life more seriously and move forward with actual direction.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. Kechi was a person who believed in being her authentic self in any space she found herself in. And encouraged others in their own life to do the same.