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Warning: graphic images below
Camryn Keag, 2, was on holiday in Queensland’s Stradbroke Island with her parents Nicole and Russell, and her older brother Jack when she stepped on a beach fire that hadn’t been extinguished properly.
The incident occurred on Flinders Beach. As Camryn was walking up from touching the water, she screamed.
“I ran towards her – I thought she’d been bitten by a snake or a spider. She had been standing, but she’d fallen to her hands. It was then I said to Russell, ‘the ground is hot',” Nicole told Kidspot.
They immediately took her back to the water, with an ambulance on the way. Nicole said Camryn’s foot was white.
She was rushed to Royal Brisbane Childrens’ Hospital, and had surgery to cut away the debris and treat her wounds. She’d suffered third degree burns to her feet and second degree burns to her hands.
It’s going to take years for little Camryn’s scars to stretch and grow, so it’s expected she will have many more skin grafts to come.
After the incident, she had to go through multiple skin grafts, compression garments and frequent visits to hospital for check-ups and dressing changes.
Camryn’s feet after the accident (left and middle), and exactly a year later (right).
The beach fire was covered by sand and not by water, which means the tragic accident could have been avoided.
Sand starves a fire of oxygen and extinguishes flames, but it can still continue to heat the ground beneath the surface for up to 24 hours.
Since the incident, Nicole has been doing whatever she can to raise awareness of, and to implement measures to enforce, the proper extinguishing of campfires on beaches.
Every year, it’s estimated that up to 40 children are burned in this manner in the state alone.
Nicole, along with Kidsafe and the surgeon who has helped repair Camryn’s foot, has worked towards the funding of signs to go up in Queensland Parks and Wildlife areas.
Next month, Nicole will be joining the 900km bike ride from Sydney to Brisbane for charity initiative Bike4Burns 2016, to raise funds for research in treatments and scar prevention for kids with burn injuries.
Camryn is now 4 and happy as ever.
To sponsor Nicole, go to Everyday Hero.
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