Scarred for life: toddler in horror burns accident
THEY were on the trip of a lifetime.
Kerrie and Mick Hall and their four children Haedin, 12, Cody, 10, Joel, six and Hunter, 17 months were travelling down the coast in a caravan to Tasmania.
They had left their hometown of Rockhampton just after Christmas, first stopping at Gladstone, then Bundaberg, Gympie and the Sunshine Coast.
It was here in Landsborough on March 26 that the unimaginable happened.
A tragic accident with a boiled kettle that left Hunter with burns to 12% of his little body and on-going yearly surgery.
"He was all wet," mum Kerrie tearfully recalls. "I just ripped his shirt off and tried to get cold water on him."
The family raced him 20km to Caloundra Hospital where he was immediately immersed in cold water before spending three hours in the shower.
Then, during the transfer to the burns unit at Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane, the blisters on Hunter's head and face started popping.
"As soon as we got to Brisbane, Hunter was put straight into surgery to have all the burned skin rubbed off. It was only then that we discovered the extent of his burns."
Hunter suffered burns to his head, face, chest, right leg and under his left foot. But it is his right leg that has been the worst affected.
"He's had four skin grafts on his right leg but only a quarter took."
He has a scar running from his knee down.
The little boy who only learned to walk three days before the accident now can't even crawl properly.
"He tries to crawl but does a funny crawl with his leg straight. He has tried to walk again but just falls down."
Kerrie said Hunter will need skin release surgery or a skin graft on his right leg every year up until he stops growing, at the age of about 18.
"He will have scarring for the rest of his life and because scars tighten he will also need physio to help him learn to walk again.
"We also have to rub cream on his scar eight times a day so his skin doesn't dry at all otherwise his foot will pull up and his knee won't bend."
While Hunter faces on-going treatment, thankfully he has come a long way.
He has been at Lady Cilento for nearly six weeks now and majority of his burns are healing.
"His face is slightly red and still peeling but his head only has a few marks that we put Betadine and cream on and his chest just has the red marking, other than that it has healed.
"He couldn't eat or drink so he had a gastro tube and an IV drip for the first four weeks. But he's eating and drinking now and off all the pain killers."
Mum Kerrie has been living at the hospital with Hunter while Mick and the boys stay in the Ronald McDonald House in Southbank.
When Hunter is discharged from hospital - when, Kerrie doesn't know, the whole family will be moved to another Ronald McDonald House in Hurston for two weeks before returning to Rockhampton.
"We'll then see the burns unit in Rockhampton in the middle of June and then come back to Brisbane six months and a year after the accident."
After the accident, Kerrie said someone suggested starting a gofundme page to help with the costs of Hunter's recovery. But she dismissed the idea.
"I said 'he's my son, my responsibility' but as time has gone on I've gone 'okay, we do need help'."
More than $2500 has been raised since the gofundme page was created two weeks ago. And Kerrie is overwhelmed.
"We are greatly appreciative to everyone who has donated. They're all angels. The money will go towards garments and creams for Hunter's ongoing treatment."
If you would like to donate you can do so here.