Memories of being burnt by a hot water bottle, which burst after being filled with boiling water, will likely never fade for 10-year-old Leamington schoolgirl Anna Crouchman. But almost a year on from the incident, she and her family are ready to do more than just thank those who have supported her recovery.
They have decided to hold a sausage sizzle at Leamington School next week to raise funds for the Burn Support Group Charitable Trust. The fundraiser will also provide an opportunity for the Crouchmans to distribute awareness information on burns from the Trust.
Anna and her family’s desire to ‘give something back’ stems from the deep gratitude they share for all the support and help Anna has received – and continues to receive – since the incident last winter.
“The Trust has done so much for us over the past year – their support has meant absolutely everything to us,” said Anna’s mum, Tracey Crouchman. “We decided the time was right for us to give back, to do something that will enable them to continue their support of other child and adult burn victims. They rely very heavily on fundraising … we felt this was one way we could offer practical help.”
Anna was just nine when a hot water bottle in her bed burst, burning her legs and requiring five nights in hospital. Her recovery has been ongoing since then, calling on her to moisturise and wear pressure stockings around the clock. There has also been an emotional impact, but the determined little girl has dug deep to ensure the incident doesn’t stop her from indulging her love of dance, music and acting. She has already amassed quite an impressive acting resume, and soon after being burned, Anna insisted on fulfilling her role as lead in the school production, Cinderella Rockerfella.
She says that one of the highlights of her own survival story was being able to join other burns survivors at the Trust’s annual camp, held in Turangi earlier this year.
“It was so cool … we did heaps of stuff and I made lots of friends,” she said, rattling off spirited tales of rafting, mini-golf, a 4D cinema experience and a day on a boat.
News received in the Crouchman household last week suggests there may be more positivity in the offing. Tracey is one of four New Zealanders selected to attend the 2018 Phoenix World Burn Congress, to be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan in the United States from September 12 to 15.
“It is incredibly exciting news. There will be hundreds of people there … burns survivors, their families, supporters and health professionals,” said Tracey. “I heard about it and put in an application, almost at the last minute and never really expecting anything to come of it. But I have become very passionate about doing more to help burns survivors in any way possible. It is going to be incredibly informative.”
Tracey described their path as “an ongoing journey, but we know we’re lucky and are incredibly grateful”.
Anna added: “I will never give up no matter what stands in my way.”