By Courtney Perkes
The Orange County Register
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A young woman who lost her limbs to bacterial meningitis, refuses to let her condition keep her from living her life. Kaitlyn Dobrow’s makeup videos are so popular on social media, they’ve even caught the attention of the beauty industry.
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif.
Kaitlyn Dobrow’s prosthetic arm, covered in a Cheetah print, inspired her online Halloween makeup tutorial where she paints her face in Cheetah spots and stares fiercely into the camera.
The video became a sensation on social media with many viewers wanting to know more about 22-year-old Kaitlyn, who does all her own filming and editing.
Kaitlyn’s four limbs were amputated three years ago to save her life.
In February 2013, Kaitlyn came home to Huntington Beach after a late-night workout. She woke up feeling sick and bruises began appearing on her body. Kaitlyn was rushed to the hospital and was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.
Without blood reaching her skin and soft tissues, Kaitlyn suffered the equivalent of third-degree burns. Doctors were forced to amputate her arms and legs. In all, Kaitlyn underwent 22 surgeries and spent six months in intensive care.
Makeup has been a huge part of Kaitlyn’s recovery.
Only days after coming home from the hospital, before she had any prosthetics, Kaitlyn did a neighbor girl’s makeup for homecoming using an adaptive tool attached to her right stump.
When she attended occupational therapy, she practiced picking up a makeup brush and tube of mascara. Recovering her dexterity has taken countless hours of practice as Kaitlyn learned to lift the 4-pound arm prosthesis with her shoulder while firing her triceps and biceps at different speeds to open and close the attached hook.
“That was the No. 1 thing she wanted to be able to do in therapy, as opposed to eating,” says her mom, Kathi Dobrow. “It’s like a natural talent. She’s never taken classes or anything and she just loves makeup.”
Kaitlyn rarely uses foundation to cover the scars left by her illness.
Kaitlyn usually doesn’t wear makeup or cover up the pink blotchy scars on her face, which she says look cool and show that she’s a warrior.
Kaitlyn’s makeup videos have caught the attention of the beauty industry.
Her Halloween Cheetah video received 1 million views after it was shared on Instagram by beauty blogger Huda Kattan with the caption “Amazing.” Fashion designer Marc Jacobs “liked” the photo showing her wearing his brand’s fuschia lipstick.
Kathi Dobrow says Kaitlyn works late into the night on her videos.
“She’s a night person, so that’s when she does her best work,” Kathi said. “I go to bed, and she texts me when she’s done working, and then I get up and help her get ready for bed.”
Kaitlyn’s determination and attitude are an inspiration to those who know her.
Here are some of the things she’s said about her illness and recovery:
On losing her limbs: “I think, this is what happened and I have to deal with what happened. I don’t like to feel sad. I personally don’t believe in depression.” -2013
On learning to walk with prosthetic legs: “It’s hard but I never thought it’s not going to happen because it kind of has to happen.” -2014
On gaining independence: “God told me 2016 is going to be my year. I’m excited but nervous to actually get my life started. I’ve been so coddled for years and so taken care of. Now I have to start doing it on my own.” -2016