Nicole and Russell, and their two children Jack (5) and Camryn (2), set off for Stradbroke Island with some other families for a much-needed break and camping trip in October 2013.

It was the family’s first camping trip and their first holiday for the year. They found a vacated camping area, set up their tents, and then Nicole took Camryn down to the water.

On their way back up, Nicole stopped to talk to a friend while watching Camryn walk towards her Dad at the campsite. All of a sudden, Camryn was screaming, her feet were in a hot campfire.

“I felt the heat and looked down at her feet horrified – they were white.” Nicole said.

Camryn was put into the capable hands of a medical team who truly understand the lifelong trauma that burns can cause. She was off her feet for five weeks, with more treatment to come.

Camryn is also attached to a negative pressure vacuum pump that sucks all moisture away from the burns and helps the grafts to fuse to the skin and reduce pain.

She will wear a compression bandage for two years, 24 hours per day.

Brave Camryn was able to return home, but like many children with severe burns, her treatment has continued – and will continue – for years. She was the ‘mascot’ for this year’s Bike for Burns event.

Forty-six firefighters and volunteers left Gladstone on May 1st, beginning the 800km bike ride to Brisbane for the annual Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Bike 4 Burns charity bike ride.

The ride, now in its ninth year, takes the 31 firefighter cyclists and 15 support volunteers seven days (May 1st – 7th) to complete. QFES Acting Commissioner Katarina Carroll says “it has raised to date, more than $ 373,000 for the Children’s Hospital Foundation to specifically put towards burn technology research and development”.

Gordon Humphrey, QFES Inspector and Bike 4 Burns organizer, explains riders would start their journey in Gladstone and cycle through Biloela, Monto, Mundubbera, Murgon, Kenilworth and Caboolture before finishing up in Brisbane at the new Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital.

After these bike riders had traversed the mountainous terrain through the Sunshine Coast Hinterland the RRT was ready to treat them to a hot meal, suited to their high energy requirements. RRT had committed to provide a hassle free meal for the riders and support crew. A rib fillet steak was served along with roast vegetables, noodle salad, fresh garden salad and bread rolls, followed by a Lemon curd tart & cream. This was a meal to prepare them for yet another gruelling day climbing the Conondale Range, before the downhill run to their next meeting with RRT at Caboolture.

On Wednesday night the team from RRT Caboolture put on a BBQ dinner for the Bikes4Burns team. The B4B people by this stage felt they already knew the RRT as they had met them in Gympie and Nambour in the previous days. Their comment was that they could see a ‘common thread’. So there was certainly no need to break the ice – just a reputation to live up to.

Spirits were high amongst the cyclists, an 800km bike ride 90% completed, a lot of money raised and the next night they would be back with their families. Having said this it was amazing to see the team spirit and the way they all bonded together and made the evening cheerful and fun for everyone.

One cyclist explained that after day two they all felt permanently hungry, long kilometres requires plenty of fuel. Two participants had a burger eating competition and put away four burgers each! The chef took this as a compliment!

At the end of the road, the following day, the participants met the RRT for the final time at the Lady Cilento hospital in Brisbane. After enjoying another freshly cooked meal of Roast Lamb and Coleslaw, there was a ceremony recognising the enormous achievement of these people, having ridden a total of 800 kilometres.

The Director of the Centre for Children’s Burns and Trauma Research at the Children’s Hospital, Professor Roy Kimble, said he appreciated all the hard work for the cause.

“I am in awe and so appreciative of firefighters who volunteer their time each year to raise vital funds for burns research,” the Professor said.

His group of energetic Queensland Fire & Emergency Service volunteer bike riders and their support crew dedicated their personal time to assist this wonderful initiative in providing the best possible research and equipment to minimise the pain and trauma to young burns victims, like little Camryn.

The RRT was very glad to have the opportunity to honour this cause practically and support the participants along the way. All eyes are on the 2016 event now!

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