Jamie Labonte is both delighted and overwhelmed at the kindness extended to her family.
Her 9-year-old son Landon is still recovering from burns suffered in an accident April 19. His friends and others have stepped forward to make the healing process go a little easier.
“It amazes me beyond measure how people can be so generous,” she said.
On April 19, the family was burning debris in the backyard. Landon Labonte tripped and fell into the fire.
He received second- and third-degree burns on his arm and was burned on his wrists and fingers. He was rushed to Effingham Hospital before being taken to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta.
Landon was released from the burn center but still needed to continue his rehabilitation to stretch the skin on his arms and hands. That’s when kids from the Ebenezer Baptist Church started a collection and bought him a Nintendo Wii.
“It’ll help him move his fingers,’ Jamie said. “It got him excited about moving his arms more. He doesn’t even realize he’s working when he does it. They saw a need, and they did it.”
Landon has had one surgery so far, getting a cadaver graft on his arms. Doctors also have ordered custom-made compression garments for him. He’ll need to wear those for up to two years, his mother said.
“This is the long stretch,” she said.
Doctors also are watching several places on his arms for infection. “They are watching those places like a hawk,” Jamie said.
Since Jamie does not drive because of a medical condition and her husband has to use the family’s lone vehicle to get back and forth from work, getting to see their son in Augusta. It was the kids raising funds again to help them out.
“At first, they donated money to us to go back and forth,” she said. “They saw the need, and they did it on their own.”
Folks from his class — he just finished fourth grade at Ebenezer Elementary School — brought over food, she said.
Landon’s homebound teacher was also his language arts teacher, and he managed to keep in contact with his classmates, even though he couldn’t be in school. That also eased the healing process, his mother said.
“I think it helped him getting contact from his friends and friends at school,” she said. “They’re constantly being in contact. Kids that little, they care so much. He is back to being my child. He is back to being Landon. He’s happy and smiling now and I’m seeing more and more of that every day.”
He was also allowed to visit them just before school got out for the summer. Landon talked to them about getting burned and what he’s had to go through since, even showing them pictures of his recovery.
“The kids were genuinely concerned — how are you doing, does it hurt, are you bored?” Jamie said. “It’s also given Landon the confidence. I have a really cool kid.”
Landon hasn’t been fully released by his doctors. They’re still worried about the risk of infection, Jamie said.
“He still has some open places and some places are healing,” she said.
The Wii has come in handy as Landon gets his needed exercise playing the games — his favorite is “Total Knockout” — and more importantly, gets his new skin stretched.
“It’s critical,” his mother said. “If you don’t do it, it won’t stretch later. You have to stretch it. They stress in physical therapy to move, move, move.”
Jamie is amazed at the progress he’s made, both physically and emotionally since the accident.
“He’s come so far,” she said. “At first, it was devastating. As a parent, to watch your child go through that pain is devastating. The prayer from people and the compassion from people have really been amazing. It makes a big difference in the healing process.”