|On the day of her return to Fiji|
Monday, 3 August 2015
Victoria is an 11 year-old girl from Labasa, Fiji who was badly burnt when her father deliberately set fire to their home. Victoria’s mother sadly died from the disaster and Vicky, with help from Rotary Overseas Medical Aid for Children (ROMAC), was flown to Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital in New Zealand for emergency surgery. She had burns to over 60% of her body, including severe damage to her left ankle. Medical Director for ROMAC Dr Eric Horne, of the Rotary Club of New Lynn, took special care of Victoria while she recovered in Auckland, and personally ensured that she returned safely to Lautoka Hospital after extensive surgery and recuperation.
But Eric always wondered how Victoria would cope after such tragic circumstances and whether she would ever be able to walk and laugh again.
The following update was written by Eric one year later in June 2015:
“I have just returned from a winter break in Fiji and while there, went up to Labasa for the day to visit Vicky.
The visit was with some degree of trepidation, as I was not at all sure what to expect.
Vicky and her brother Gavidi and their aunt met me at the airport.
I was truly delighted to see that she could walk really well, although with a slight limp.
She is a totally different child from the one the Burns Team at Middlemore looked after so wonderfully.
Victoria, as she now likes to be called, is really a rather extroverted child who never stops talking and sings in the choir at school.
She had arranged for me to visit her school which is about 15 minutes from Labasa in lovely countryside, and about 1km from their very nice house that her aunt and uncle own. She walks to and from school every day.
The school put on quite a show with singing and dancing.
Despite missing a whole year at school, Victoria has caught up and is in the correct class for her age. Her teacher, who knew very little of her experiences, told me she was easily the best reader in her class, but needed to catch up on her maths.
When she left Lautoka Hospital in May 2014, her brother bought a wheelchair and they flew up to Labasa.
Victoria took her first steps in October, and was determined to walk without her stick by the time she started school in January.
Four weeks ago she was admitted to the local hospital for two weeks and had 21 pieces of wire removed from her ankle, and since then her walking has improved hugely. Her ankle remains swollen and she can only wear crocks, but has no pain at all.
While there, she said to me, “I am going to run in the next school sports. I know I will be last but I am going to run!”
She is very happy living with her mother’s brother and his wife and two younger children. This is the uncle who rescued her from the fire and who was also quite badly burned.
Vicky particularly mentioned Dr Richard and wanted me to thank all the lovely nurses who looked after her at Middlemore Hospital and the ROMAC team that made it possible. She mentioned lots of other names which I have forgotten.
It was a very humbling day, and to be honest one of the very best of my life, to see Victoria so well and happy.”