Over the Easter long weekend, while celebrating birthdays, farewells, and life in general 11 people including my daughter were involved in a horrific boat explosion on the Hawkesbury River.
Most of us on the boat have known each other since attending Summer Hill Primary School in Sydney's Inner West and along with our partners we are a very close group of friends.
After a birthday lunch we stopped to refuel and to take happy snaps in the golden hour sunset on our way home. When we started the engine the rear of the boat exploded into a fireball which caused multiple casualties, with 6 people suffering from severe burns and 4 in a critical state.
They were admitted to the Royal North Shore hospital with deep burns to 30% of their bodies: mainly their legs, hands, arms, stomachs, and faces. They are currently in the severe burns unit undergoing skin grafting surgeries and many other painful treatments.
Roughly every 2 days they need to have their wounds cleaned to remove the dead tissue to minimise infection, but this is an extremely painful process where their screams can be heard throughout the ward.
Currently their release dates from hospital are unknown, but they have been told by the doctors that it will be a long and painful road to recovery. Unfortunately, all three are without private health cover.
Mirka whose birthday we were celebrating is beautiful and energetic who came to Australia from Slovakia on a bridging visa to start a new life in 2016. She works as a manager at an organic retail store in Sydney's North Shore and she is loved by the local community which she gives so much to, and those who are close to her know how funny she is with her unconventional humour.
Karoline originally from Brazil is on a bridging visa. She is the sweetest and most caring person who has the brightest and most positive smile. Ever since moving to Australia in 2014 she has worked tirelessly to build a career and in the past 12 months has started her own small beauty business, K Beauty Studio in the Inner West.
John works in marketing and arrived in Australia from South Korea as a child. Although he comes from a humble background he is generous to a fault, always there for everyone and nothing is too much. His positivity is infectious and his strength to keep it up even through this traumatic event is admirable.
It was their generosity and offer to switch places seconds before the explosion that saved my daughter, wife, and I from being in their painful position and it's their selflessness which has led them to ask to combine their fundraising efforts to ensure it is shared equally among them all.
So we are now raising funds for Mirka, Karoline and John and their immediate families since most of them are not Australian citizens, the funds will help them cover the costs of the long-term financial burden including:
- loss of income,
- operations either not covered or partially covered,
- support for daily living while they get back on their feet and
- Covid-19 restrictions permitting, for some of their family to be in Australia to care for them.
Any funds will, just as importantly, help them focus on their recovery without compounding the trauma they've been through with financial stress.
Please give generously and donate as much as you can. Whether it is financial through this platform or in other practical ways, all support is appreciated.
Please also share this page with your family, friends, and wider network who may wish to contribute.
Our dear friend Ale, who was also significantly impacted by the explosion and requires financial support has a separate go fund me page. We ask that you also donate generously to her and support her recovery in anyway possible.
On behalf of all of us on the boat, we'd like to extend a huge thank you to those who helped us in the aftermath, saved the marina and other boats, gave words of comfort, let us use the showers of their holiday homes to cool the burns, supplied my daughter with snacks and of course to the emergency service workers and teams at the Royal North Shore Hospital Intensive Care Unit and Severe Burns Unit for their tireless efforts both professionally and personally.
- Elise Chisholm
- Adriana Cristine Alves
- Cassandra Sales
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