Mum shaves her head to say thank you for the lifesaving care of 3-year-old son

On 22 October 2022, Dexter left his father's side and ran between two parked cars into the road where he was hit by a car doing 30mph.

Mum Kelly-Marie Burns from Doncaster has shaved her head in support of Sheffield Children’s to say thank you for the care of her three-year-old son Dexter.

On 22 October 2022, Dexter left his father's side and ran between two parked cars into the road where he was hit by a car doing 30mph.

Dexter was intubated, ventilated, and had rescue breaths given at the scene by the driver of the car. He was airlifted to Sheffield Children’s where he was ventilated and sedated. He underwent various ultrasounds, scans and blood tests to find out how much damage had been done by the accident. Dexter was put in a medically induced coma, which are often used following a severe brain injury to reduce the risk of further raised brain pressure and allow a period of brain pressure monitoring.

His condition was unstable for a while. It was unknown if he would wake up from his medically induced coma let alone what his recovery time would be.

Dexter was sedated for three days in a coma like state, and it was nearly another week before his eyes opened fully after the team stopped giving him medication.

Following the accident Dexter had an MRI which diagnosed him with a Diffuse Axonal Injury which is when the brain has areas of bruising and swelling. He spent a total of 12 weeks in hospital and has since come a long way, learning to walk, talk and eat all over again.

He was discharged at the beginning of January this year and his family are now learning to adapt to the next stage of his journey.

Dexter has ataxia of the right side of the body and has brain injury fatigue. Ataxia is a neurological term that describes a pattern of balance and speech difficulties. Brain injury fatigue means that when his injured brain processes information he can be overwhelmed by minor tasks or small bits of information. This is managed by pacing of activities and a careful programme of rest, although this can be difficult for a three-year-old.

Dexter still has top-up feeds via a tube and has regular appointments with Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Dieticians and the Speech and Language Therapy Team. But four months post-accident, he is thriving at home and is continuously progressing.

Kelly-Marie said: “Throughout our time at the hospital the staff went above and beyond to ensure Dexter's needs were met including the pastoral support provided to us parents. This spread from the Intensive Care Unit and High Dependency Unit up to Ward 5. It’s because of all the teams supporting him that Dexter is doing so well.”

During their stay at Sheffield Children’s Kelly-Marie noticed that while the care they received had been amazing, she saw that things on the wards needed updating and new equipment might be needed. This led to the family deciding to fundraise to say thank you to the hospital for Dexter’s life-saving care.

At the beginning of February, Kelly-Marie shaved her head and held a fundraising event in support of The Children’s Hospital Charity. The event involved raffles and activities for family and friends. Rhys, Dexter’s dad, also got in on the action shaving his beard and eyebrows to raise money.

Kelly-Marie continued: “I shaved my head because it’s a big, scary and drastic change which pretty much sums up ours and Dexter's life now. Everything we have been through has been a terrifying experience and if Dexter can go through all this, I can shave my head. I was nervous but excited too because I knew it was for a great cause.”

So far, the family have raised an incredible £1,570. Following this, they plan on continuing their fundraising, now focusing on the Helipad Appeal. The Children’s Hospital Charity’s current campaign is to bring a Helipad to Sheffield Children’s, to save vital minutes when every second counts for patients who need access to the Emergency Department. Kelly-Marie will take on the Charity’s abseil event on 19March, continuing her support of Sheffield Children’s.

To support Kelly-Marie’s fundraising visit their page.

To join Kelly-Marie and sign up for the Charity abseil visit our website.