Grada Helsdon, a Farnham resident in Surrey, England, has started raising money for the burn unit in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital where she received treatment after nearly one fourth of her body was severely burned in a cooking accident. Grada came home in April of this year with the desire to make a ham hock terrine. While following online instructions, Grada attempted to simmer ham hocks in the oven as opposed to cooking them on her stove. She placed two hocks into a large pan of water in the oven for three hours. While removing the hocks, the pan of oily water was too heavy, and it caused her wrist to give out, pouring the whole pan of water over her lower body.
“It was a horrible accident. My instinct was to strip the clothing from my lower body,” said Grada. “I screamed so loud my husband ran out to see what had happened in time to see me running up the stairs shouting ‘call for an ambulance.’ I ran a bath of cold water and sat emerged up to my waist. It was excruciatingly painful…” Grada was told she had burns covering 25 percent of her body. She was sent to the Burns Unit at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
“They continued to top up the morphine and to scrape away the rest of the burnt skin, then covered me in a new protein wrap. I stayed in the isolation unit for five days, the nurses changing the dressing every four hours, using sheets of Manuka honey. The teams working in the burn unit were so dedicated, gentle and kind, encouraging me to move my body to ensure that any new skin would be flexible. We should be proud of the NHS. Where else in the world would you have such amazing treatment? It must have cost a huge amount of money to treat my burns.”
After recovering for four months, Grada could walk normally again. Overwhelmed by the help she received at the hospital burn unit, Grada showed her appreciation by raising money for new equipment. The money will be used to help the hospital get a Vivosight OCT, a new light-based technology clinicians can use to make more informed decisions about non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC). Grada has been hosting poetry prose events at her house as one way to raise the money.
“Friends and friends of friends are asked to share some poetry or prose and give a reason why it is special to them, and in return we give them beverage and confection,” Grada said. The first event raised over $150 dollars, but Grada emphasizes the important work that’s created in the process, stating that “the first was written by a young woman and the second written by someone known to many people in Farnham.” Others have hosted charity lunches and sponsored walks in support of Grada’s efforts.
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