A Fernie family is raising money for the BC Burn Fund following the 6-month anniversary of a campfire accident involving young Fernie local, Zander Coultry.
The accident happened on May 1st during a family camping trip when Zander, then six years old, fell backwards onto a campfire.
Now seven, the young man’s father, Luc Coultry, said they can report that Zander is “happy, and healthy, and he’s healing well.”
Coultry, an auxiliary firefighter with Fernie Fire Rescue, said his son wasn’t able to do a lot initially due to the healing process. He had “extensive” skin grafts, Coultry said. Now, Zander has successfully re-integrated himself back into school at Isabella Dicken Elementary School.
“He’s a very active seven-year-old boy now, that loves swimming and biking and playing in the ferns.”
It will be a lifetime journey, he said, but the major steps of initial healing are complete.
The Coultry family received significant support along the way from the BC Burn Fund and the local Fernie fire hall.
Immediately following the accident, Zander was driven to the East Kootenay Regional Hospital in Cranbrook and underwent emergency surgery that night. The next morning, the father and son were flown by air ambulance to the BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, where Zander underwent more surgeries. The pair then spent five weeks at the BC Burn Fund’s HomeAway Accommodations, where they could recover between procedures.
They were separated for about 40 days from mother Meghan Coultry and Zander’s nine-year-old sister, Kylar.
Zander’s aunt, L’wren Farkas, said they didn’t expect them to be gone for so long.
“You don’t prepare for this. They left with literally the clothes on their backs and got on an airplane,” she said.
They were better able to focus on Zander’s recovery because of the financial support they received from the BC Burn Fund. They helped “big time,” she said. Fernie Fire Rescue also provided extensive support, which Coultry said he is very thankful for. The support from the fund will continue, Farkas said.
Now, the family is looking to return the favour.
A GoFundMe page from Nov. 3 was started by Farkas in the name of her young son, Zander’s cousin Yozsef Farkas.
The page description, written by Farkas in her three-year-old son’s voice, says Zander is Yozsef’s “bestest friend in the whole wide world,” and that Zander had a “horrific burn accident,” and they were separated for five weeks.
“We felt so sad and didn’t know what we would do… Then the most amazing thing happened. They were supported by the BC Burn Fund and our local Fernie fire hall.”
“You don’t realize the resources that are out there until, unfortunately, you’re placed in horrible life circumstances, and you feel alone, and then you realize that there’s a lot of people out there that want to help,” Farkas said.
“And so, we want to give back.”
The GoFundMe page says that, since Yozsef recently turned three, they wanted to raise $300 to donate to the BC Burn Fund. As of 2 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 5, the fundraiser had brought in $1,258.
“It’s absolutely overwhelming… We live in an amazing community.”
Yozsef will also be cutting off his long hair to donate to Wigs for Kids BC. He wants to be like his big cousin Zander, who has short hair.
“When Yozi wakes up in the morning, he asks to see Zander first. He looks up to him and loves him ‘to the moon’,” Farkas said.
When Yozsef got home from pre-school on Friday afternoon, before his nap, he said: “I love Zander and am so happy he is home safe.”
Donations to the BC Burn Fund go towards programs that support burn survivors across B.C. and Yukon, “including our beloved Burn Camp,” said Kirstie McRae, acting executive director for the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund in a statement.
To learn more about the BC Burn Fund Centre, click here.