The Foothills Medical Centre’s Burn Treatment Centre has been a home away from home for the Wedrick family over the holidays.
Ron Wedrick, 43, and his 25-year-old son Evan have been recovering there from injuries they received battling a wildfire that threatened several towns and villages near Tompkins, Sask., this fall.
They were driving home on Oct. 17 after trying to help neighbours protect their ranches. Blowing dirt and smoke made it difficult to see the danger up ahead.
“We couldn’t tell where we were and then there was just a wall of fire. So I turned and went off the road and then tires started popping on the truck. So then we were done,” Ron said.
They were forced to leave the truck and try to run through the fire to safety.
Burns covered about 12 per cent of Ron’s body, and more than 60 per cent of Evan’s.
“He’s had surgery on his eyes because his skin was pulling his eyes down and then his mouth is shrunk and his nose is shrunk,” Ron said. “It’s tough.”
For more than two months, they’ve undergone surgeries and received physiotherapy almost daily at the centre.
“First thing in the morning you wake up and you can’t move and it’s just like starting from scratch, every day.”
The centre is partly funded by the Calgary Firefighters Burn Treatment Society.
“For us the burn injury side, obviously, that hits close to home,” Calgary firefighter and society president Jim Fisher said.
“You don’t become a firefighter, or a paramedic, or a police officer, or in the military unless you want to be supporting and helping your community.”
It’s one of 13 charities they’re supporting with their first New Year’s Eve Charity Gala on Sunday.
“We’re trying to fund a skin resurfacing laser here at the centre,” Fisher said.
That would be an important resource for other families like the Wedricks. They spent their first Christmas away from home, but together, alongside Evan’s five month old baby.