Challenge to be campfire conscientious
Renmark mum, Belinda Morrison, went camping with her husband Tim, son Liam (11) and twins Brodie and Will (3) on the Anzac Day weekend last year. The holiday took a dramatic turn when Will tripped and fell hands first into a smouldering campfire pit.
“From that moment in time, everything is a blur for the next 24 to 48 hours,” Belinda says.
“We were lucky we weren’t too far out of town and the ambulance got to us quickly. Doctors were waiting at our local emergency department for us and then we were on a plane to Adelaide. We arrived at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital late at night, with a plastic surgeon waiting for us.”
Will had surgery the next morning to clean up his hands and remove the dead skin.
Challenge 21 fundraiser
“Over the next two weeks, he had several more procedures to clean and assess his hands. He ended up needing partial-thickness graphs on his right hand,” Belinda explains.
“Since then, we have been coming back to the Hospital for the Burns and Scar clinics and Will had to have another operation for full-thickness graphs.”
So grateful to the team in the Burns Unit, the family, who owns the Renmark Baker’s Delight, wanted to give back in some way and decided to get their store involved in Challenge 21 – our annual community fundraising event.
The Morrison’s arranged a fundraising day where all proceeds from the store went to their Challenge 21 page – raising over $7,000! This was then dollar matched by the Gillespie Family Foundation, bringing their fundraising total to over $14,000!
Campfire safety education campaign
These proceeds have now gone towards a burns first aid and campfire safety education campaign for Indigenous communities, facilitated by the WCHN Burns Service
The Burns Service at the WCH provides inpatient and outpatient treatment for children from birth to 16 years. They treat around 150 inpatients and 450 outpatients each year from SA, NT and western parts of NSW and Victoria.
Burns Advanced Nurse Consultant, Linda Quinn, and Dr Jake Willet are leading this campaign, their aim to reduce the burden of burn injuries on Indigenous children and their families.
Jake says, “There are marked inequalities in healthcare provision between Indigenous and non-Indigenous burns patients.”
“Our data shows that Indigenous patients have much longer journeys and significant delays to reach tertiary centres, delaying the initiation of specialist management and worsening the prognosis.”
“This equates to Indigenous patients needing skin grafts over three times as frequently as non-Indigenous patients. Their admissions are then more than twice the duration, as they’re requiring more invasive intervention which has a significant sociocultural burden.”
The campaign will focus on three main areas: prevention, first aid and intervention.
“We really believe that good first aid at the site of the burn, initiated in a timely manner, is key.”
“Part of the focus will also be on ways to avoid these injuries, and then just really trying to hit home that if you get these burn injuries, go and see your local health care worker, Indigenous worker or nurse and get care escalated.”
The campaign will consist of Indigenous media company, Pintubi Anmatjere Warlpiri, creating an informational video to distribute across media platforms for remote communities. It will use their voice, guided by information from the WCHN Burns Service, to create something that is culturally meaningful.
Linda explains that this campaign is so important because campfire burns are a serious injury in children and require extensive treatment.
“These deep burns require skin grafting, and often in areas of the body that are highly functional areas, like hands from kids falling into fires, or feet from walking through coals that they don’t quite realise haven’t been put out properly,” she says.
“If the scars left from these injuries don’t grow with the child, they can require ongoing care. It’s not just something that we fix and say ‘goodbye’, many kids require ongoing scar reconstructive surgery as they grow.”
Gratitude and giving back
The Morrison family are so happy to be able to help prevent other families from going through this experience.
Belinda says, “To be able to play a small part in the prevention of campfire related burns is something we hold close to our hearts.”
“The work that the Burns Unit does is beyond incredible. What was an extremely scary time for us was made easier by the care and compassion we received. Linda Quinn, Jake Willet and the entire burns team have been beyond amazing. “
“No words can express how grateful we are.”
If you’re interested in fundraising in your community, please contact our Community Fundraising Manager.Back to all news