Survivor Stories

If you have a story, we would love to hear it. Please contact the foundation as we welcome stories from all perspectives.


sandraSandra’s Story

Four days before I was due to return to Australia from my family vacation in Italy, I was involved in a fireplace accident. I was 11 years old and completely naive as to what lay ahead, a blessing in disguise really.

One month or so in hospital, a skin graft operation later and I was on my way back home. I suffered burns to approx 20% of my body but was fortunate to never need any releases throughout my life.

It was one of the most painful things I have ever experienced but it certainly has made me stronger in many ways. I have never allowed my scars to inhibit me as I believe we should embrace them – after all it’s what sets you apart from everyone else and makes you special!

18 years on and my burns are so part of me now that I almost forget they are there. I appreciate and am grateful for the fantastic support network that surrounded me then and still does today. Without my friends and family, I know this journey would have been a very hard trek!

Carolyn photo 2The Robb Family Story

Hello our names are Allison and Cristine Robb. Well, it all started on the 17th January 1995, when our mother was filling up a lawn mower too close to a gas hot water system, and it blew up. We both did not realize how this day would change our lives forever. We went from having a mother we were solely dependent on, to having to look to each other and other family members for support.

During the 8 months our mother was in hospital, we were transferred from our grandparents to our Aunts and Uncles houses quite frequently. We both found it hard juggling school work as well as traveling to the hospital every weekend. Mum was finally walking around with the help of a walking aide, so we thought she would come home, but we were wrong. The next step was Ryde Rehab were she lived for 3 months. After a long anticipated wait our mother finally came home. We did not know what to expect. No one prepared us for the fact that she was not the same mother she was 10 months ago.

The situation then, was that our mother did everything for us from cooking to cleaning, but it was soon reversed. In a matter of days we had to learn to depend on each other for support, both emotionally and physically. We had to grow up real fast.

We had to go to school 5 days a week and look after our mother full time. We also had the stress of not knowing whether our mother would be at home as she would have a doctor’s appointment and then she would be sent to hospital immediately.

It has been 8 ½ years and we can not say these years have been easy but it has been a rewarding experience in many ways. We have both learnt a lot about ourselves and the responsibilities of life. With the help of other young carers supporting us, it’s made our lives easier.

We used to go on camps with other young carers where we made a network of friends who we can contact when we are upset, need someone to talk to or just want to catch up with old friends.

isabelIsabel’s Story – Family Wedding

12 weeks after falling into week-old hot ash and burning both feet and receiving a skin graft to her right foot Isabel has been able to be a part of her eldest sisters wedding.

Wearing the pale pink compression sock was not a problem. The family discussed it and together decided that everybody knew about the accident and they would not try to hide it under stockings or socks but would boldly carry on.

Isabel was quite relaxed about it all on the day, she sang for her sister and brother–in-law blessing all present with her quiet assurance and confidence.

Callum’s story

On a Saturday morning about 9 am, 14 month old Callum was playing in the backyard with his sister when his dad John started running a hot bath to soak in before he went to play football. John went into the kitchen to get the crossword, and was chatting to Callum’s Mum, Nicki when they heard a noise, some sort of gasp. They ran the three metres to the bathroom and found Callum sitting with one leg raised in about 5 cm of hot water. He had probably gone in head first and put out his hands which turned him around.

Nicki pulled him out and jumped straight into the shower, stripping off hit T-shirt and nappy. He was still not making any loud noise, but his skin came away in sheets. After about 10 minutes cooling his burns, his parents bundled Callum into the car and rushed him the short ride to the hospital.

Callum was in the water for only about nine seconds. He was badly scalded over a quarter of his body, on one leg, the underside of his wrists, between his fingers and the tops of his feet (the soles were hardened and didn’t scald), with splash scalds on his chest. He was in major pain and was flown to the capital city that night.

Callum was in the burns unit for seven weeks and had to learn to walk again. He wore pressure bandages and kept going back for treatment for a number of years. When Nicki and John measured the temperature of their hot water they found it to be about 70 degrees. Their new system has the temperature limited to the recommended 50 degrees.

jamespatrick2Jame’s Story – Karate Champion

My name is James Patrick. I was burnt trying to re-light a backyard fire in a drum, with Methylated Spirits. I have 3rd degree burns on my arms, hands and legs. I was hospitalized for 2 months in which I received grafts & after a smaller surgery and much therapy I was discharged and went home to Morree. By mid August I was back at School and by Summer I was doing most of the things I love, even if Physio, splints and pressure garments were part of my world.

I have taken up Karate and I really love it. My club is Moree Free-Style Karate Club. I have reached Blue Belt level and compete regularly. I competed in Liverpool and am now ranked No.1 in my division in several disciplines.I compete in Forms, Kata, self-defense, point sparring, weapons and board breaking.

I look forward to competing again and rising through a belt grade or two. It will be harder as I have taken on a Chef’s apprenticeship and will have work as well as Tafe.