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Former burns patient full of thanks for her heroes

Aimee Sawyer

A former patient of The Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery has raised more than £5,000 as a thank you to the “heroes” who saved her life.

Above: Aimee Sawyer, centre, presents a cheque to Tempest Ward staff

Aimee Sawyer was transferred to the Morriston Hospital based unit in August 2020 after being injured in a fire at her home in Bristol.

The 28-year-old had third degree burns to more than 50% of her body, including all of her limbs, and it was unknown if Aimee would be able to survive her injuries. She was placed in a medically induced coma and staff from the intensive care unit on the Tempest Ward spent five weeks working tirelessly around the clock to keep her alive.

Aimee underwent multiple surgeries to clear her wounds, skin grafts from her back and stomach (the only unaffected skin left on her body), and a tracheotomy. During this period, she also suffered other complications such as sepsis, a chest infection and fluid on the lungs.

Due to Covid restrictions, Aimee not only had to survive and process what had happened to her, she had to face it all alone but she said the staff on the ward were amazing and would take daily phone calls from her family and would keep  them updated on any changes during her stay.

Now, having rebuilt her life, Aimee, her family and friends have raised £5,385 for the ward on which she was treated.

She said: “They saved my life along with the fight of my spirit, they fought hard for me, endless hours, 24/7 care, whilst I was unaware. 

“We all felt like we needed to do something to show our gratitude and appreciation, to give something back. 

“This was our only way of saying our hugest thanks, directly and personally, to the Tempest Ward from all my family and friends.” 

Opening up on the emotion of undergoing such a traumatic experience she said: "My emotions run so deep. I can't explain or emphasise the amount that I feel, the gratefulness inside of me is now imprinted on my skin forever. 

“I can never forget what they have done. I will always carry what they have given me, the scars that have formed are telling a story in which we survived together.

“From the start of my arrival, I was given so much encouragement to believe in their medical expertise despite all of me saying no, because the fear ran so deep. 

"Despite the trauma I endured, and the injuries I suffered, I was still given so much hope. The support system and care from the team is what gave me the desired strength to fight even harder. They didn't give up on me so I never gave up on them! 

“They helped me through the hardest time to enable me to get back on my feet. Without their care I wouldn't have gained the ability to strive again in life and become hungry for more.”

Aimee, who before her injuries played golf off a plus three handicap and had aspirations of becoming a professional, said her wish is that the money be used to treat all of the staff in the unit to a meal out in order to maintain their well-being.

She said: “They cared about me, they cared about us, and now we care about our heroes, because we are human after all, they are not hidden to us.

“We are so fortunate to have these services where they can provide such good care and give life back to someone, from their years of hard work. 

“They put 100% in, they even supported my family through truthful hard phone calls, of honesty. Keeping them informed twice a day and always letting them know if something was going on. 

“They are friendly, empathetic staff, and I am aware we are human beings so this must take a toll on them. Therefore the money is for the staff. The team needs to be cared for too."

Aimee’s brother, Darol Sawyer, who had been growing his hair throughout lockdown, played a lead role in the fundraising by having his head shaved, on the first anniversary of Aimee’s accident.

He said: “The care given by the Tempest Ward along with Aimee’s incredible spirit and strength, are the reasons that Aimee is alive today. We hope this will support them to continue their great work and to keep saving lives.”

Susan Salerno, ward manager, said: “It has been wonderful to see how well Aimee has progressed since her accident. A major burn is recognised as one of the biggest traumas that the body and mind can endure.

“We would like to thank Aimee, her family and friends, who have taken so much time and trouble to raise money for the burns centre and her kind words to our team.

“Our staff will be encouraged to continue our endeavours to pursue the best outcome for our patients who endure such a physical and psychological battle to overcome such a traumatic life-changing injury.”

Cathy Snell, a fundraising officer for Swansea Bay Health Charity, said: “We are in awe of Aimee’s strength and determination in her recovery and this huge donation shows her true strength. 

“The amount raised by Aimee and her family and friends is incredible and will have a huge impact on patients and staff on the ward. Well done Aimee.”

 

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