Jason Milford
2 minute read
15 Dec 2016
10:49 am

Skin grafts for Pretoria burn survivor

Jason Milford

His mother says he has made remarkable progress, having already gone for his third skin grafting procedure.

Sean Smith (16) is still undergoing skin grafts. Picture: Centurion Rekord

After eight weeks of beating the odds, teenage burn victim Sean Smith, 16, is still undergoing skin grafts, reports the Centurion Rekord.

His family said this week he was doing very well in Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg.

ALSO READ: Pretoria ‘hero teen’ suffers burns after shirt catches fire

Last week, the teenager went to the operating room for his third skin grafting procedure.

His mother, Mé-Lissa Smith, said he had made remarkable progress.

There was, however, still a long journey ahead for Sean – physically as well as emotionally.

“He is a bit down at the moment, so please everyone keep him in your thoughts and prayers,” she said.

“It’s a lot for someone to go through, the physical and emotional scarring of this whole incident.”

The Pretoria community, business and people around the world opened their hearts when they heard about the teenager who got badly burnt on October 17.

This happened after he had come to the aid of a woman whose car had broken down in Eldoraigne, Centurion.

He used petrol to remove oil from his hands and wiped his hands on his shirt. Someone lit a cigarette in his vicinity, and his shirt caught fire, causing him to suffer serious burns.

Mé-Lissa, a single mother who does not have any medical aid, relied on friends, family and the public to help her son get the best treatment for his wounds.

Sean was rushed to the Unitas hospital in Lyttelton. It being a private hospital, funds were required for medical treatment.

A close family friend, Amoré Jooste, and the Hero Burn Foundation were able to raise more than R40 000 for Sean in the first day.

The Unitas hospital donated resources from the hospital as a contribution towards the teenager’s treatment and procedures.

After a week, Sean was transferred to the Chris Hani Baragwanath provincial hospital.

Mé-Lissa, with her best friend Amoré at her side, worked tirelessly to raise money to have Sean transferred to Milpark hospital.

With the help of the local radio station, R1.3 million were raised within days.

Recently, a distant relative living in the United Kingdom raised £3 500 (R59 500) abroad.

The woman asked not to be named.

“This one really hit me hard and made me get out there and do everything I could to help. Although we never met, Sean is extended family,” she said.

“My own son is 16, and I cannot imagine for one minute how I would feel if that were my boy lying there going through all this.”

Caxton News Service

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