Burn survivor Autumn Hamilton

$150,592 of $250,000 goal

Raised by 1,926 people in 9 months
Created April 29, 2018
Fundraising team
on behalf of Dave Hamilton
Autumn Hamilton, 16 years old, of Lombard, IL, was an unfortunate burn victim in the Glendale Heights bonfire accident on April 28, 2018.


Autumn is currently at Loyola Medical Center Burn Unit on life support. She sustained 3rd degree burns to the majority of her body, especially to her face. Doctors have her in a medically induced coma. She has undergone multiple surgeries so far to relieve pressure in her face and arms. 

Autumn has has a long road ahead of her! She will require countless surgeries, facial reconstruction, therapy, rehabilitation, etc.

Please help support her and her family so she can get the treatment she desperately needs. 29519610_15250508460_r.jpeg
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Home Sweet Home
Journal entry by Dahlia OConnor — 1 hour ago

After two cancelled flights, a change of planes in Nashville, and one wind storm our Survior finally made it home late Thursday night. Autumn couldn't wait to spend time with friends and family.

On Tuesday, February 5th, Autumn saw Dr. Norbury and he was very pleased with the tissues expansion. Autumn had the staples removed from her head and now she will get the expansion filled by Dr. Vandevender at Loyola Hospital for the next 13 weeks.
Then, she will head back to Shriners in May for the operation to cut the stretch skin and connect the skin on her head.
Therefore, she will not be able to wear her compression mask during this time.
Dr. Norbury said lots of massage for her face to try and keep her skin as smooth as possible for this time. Autumns mouth release is healing very well, she will continue with speech therapy and has lots of exercises to do at home to keep the skin around her mouth flexible.
Autumn's right palm (skin graph due to release) and right pinky got an infection, with antibiotics, they are healing well. The swelling in her fingers is going down and she will have a hand split to help keep her fingers as straight as possible with some occupancy therapy.

Tomorrow Autumn goes right back to 6 hours of therapy and school work. She is so thankful for her friends and family that are loving her and sticking by her side. We are also so thankful for the love that friends and family pour out on David and Brooke, when Jackie and Autumn are gone.

Also, this Saturday, Davids friend, Mackie C, is putting together a Fundraiser for Autumn at
Skores Sports Bar & Grill.
6764 West Forest Preserve Ave, Harwood Heights.
From 6pm - 2am
Kid friendly from 6pm-10pm.
We would love to see all of the Autumns Strong supporters there.

Love and blessing, Aunt Kelle

"She Made Broken look Beautiful and Strong look Invincible. She Walked with the Universe on her shoulders & made it look like a pair of wings." ........ unknown
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And.....Surgery #17 is in The Books
Journal entry by Dahlia OConnor — 3 hours ago

Today at 12:30pm, Autumn went in for about a 2 hour surgery to remove the pins from her fingers. Autumn is doing well and is back at the condo resting.
Flashback a week to when Autumn saw the Doctor on Wednesday the 16th, he was super happy with the results of her fingers from Surgery #16 and he couldn't believe how awesome her tendons moved in her fingers. She should have full movement of fingers 1 & 2. Finger number 3 will take some extra PT.
Unfortunately, we learned yesterday that her pinky finger didn't do so well and Dr. Norbury had to remove a little bit more of her pinky today. He is still confident that it will be longer then when she went in, because it was fully bent in half. Tomorrow she will start about an hour of PT daily to work on her fingers and hand. Dr. Norbury did say her nerves in her fingers will have pain for a good year or so. Lots of prayers for her hand!
They also worked long on Autumns mouth last week, and it looks wonderful, they released the skin around her mouth and took the tissue from inside her mouth to give her an upper lip and lower lip. We, the doctors, and staff are very please with the results already and it can only get better. Speech Therapy will start up next week, giving the mouth one more week to heal.

Dr. Norbury will see Autumn on Tuesday, January 22nd and then February 5th, he wants to see a full 2 weeks of her tissue expansion on her head before he sends her home.
She will return in May to Shriners to remove the tissue expansion and release fingers 1,2,&3 on her left hand, her pinky is already straight on her left hand so that should be left alone.

Autumn spent last weekend resting and enjoying the company of our Texas family that came and spent time with her and Jackie.

Autumn additonally had an interview yesterday with Katherine Jeschke, the head of donations (remember the white sheets!) to discuss her experience at Shriners and her accident, more to follow.

Love and Blessings, Aunt Kelle

"I know this transformation is painful, but you're not falling apart; you're just falling into something different, with a new capacity to be beautiful" William C Hannan
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Times Flies when You're with Your Loved Ones
Journal entry by Dahlia OConnor — Jan 9, 2019

14 weeks have flown by and each moment we got to spend with Autumn has been a special one.

Autumn and Jackie got right back into the swing of things in good old Lombard, with much love and support from friends and family. Autumn spends 6 hours, 3 days a week in occupational, speech, physical, and scar tissue massage therapy.
Autumns other 2 days are spent with completing a 1/2 day at therapy and a few hours doing school work along with tutiors. Autumn has completed English, math and social studies for her 1st semester as a Jr. Autumn is working hard and can't wait to get back to the class of 2020 at Glenbard East High School (once a ram always a ram!).

She continues to work on balances and stanama in PT and can now stand on her tip toes.
We would like to give a special shout out to Autumn's massage therapist, Annie. She has done an amazing job of softening the tissue and helping with some range of motion in Autumn's elbows. Plus, she is always doing extra research to find new ways to make Autumn's recovery better.

From day one Autumn has ventured out with friends and cousins. She enjoys spending as much free time as she can get, hanging with her friends. Autumn got back into the drivers seat with no problems and loves having the independence.

We additionally want to Thank, Tony and Jamie, for the Fun Zanies Comedy fundraiser. Laughter is the best medicine, and they came over before Christmas to drop off gifts for the family. Jackie said "it felt like the real Santa came, because all the gifts were a wonderful surprise".
It has been a true blessing to meet all the people that have reached out to my sweet niece and family.
Another fundraiser is scheduled for February, so stay tuned for more information!

On Sunday the 13th, Jackie and Autumn will make their way back to Shriners in Galveston. On Monday, she will meet with her doctors at Shriners and Tuesday she will have surgery #16 for the tissue expansion on the back of her head. This will be a 10 1/2 week procedure and we are not sure when they will be back in Lombard but will keep everyone posted.
Sweet Grandma Rosa will head out on Tuesday the 15th to support and love Autumn and Jackie.
Please pray for safe travels and for all to go well during surgery.

"Strength in the face of pain or fear" is the definition of courage. Everyday, Autumn walks her life showing everyone what it really means to have strength. #autumnstrong

Love and Blessing, Aunt Kelle
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AutumnStrong 11.12.18... Drum roll please...
Journal entry by Dahlia OConnor — Nov 12, 2018

After 75 days at Loyola Hospital and about 3 months at Shriners Hospital in Galveston, Texas- Autumn has made her triumphant return home! Jackie and Autumn arrived home in Lombard in early October making their family whole once again.

The first few days were dedicated to the transition of her new routine back at home. The shift back to life at home in Lombard has been amazing which should not come as a shock to anyone. Autumn wasted no time ordering and enjoying some of her hometown favorite foods like pizza and Portillo’s hot dogs as family and friends gathered to welcome her back home.

The first weekend could not have been scripted to go any better. Autumn had an opportunity to make a magical evening even more special for one of her cousins. She surprised everyone by joining her family at her cousin’s wedding. The beautiful young lady was adorned in an elegant dress and could be found on the dance floor most of the night.

As they say, if you play hard, you also need work hard. The Monday after getting home, Autumn got right back into therapy at RIC. The schedule challenges Autumn physically and emotionally. The 6-hour, daily regiment involves physical, occupational and speech therapy. And of course she is exceeding all goals.

When she is at home, Autumn utilizes a CPM machine on her hands. The Continuous Passive Motion machine is intended to recreate the natural physiological motions of the fingers, thumb and wrist through a series of different exercises.

Autumn was pretty adamant about making a trip back to Loyola. While she did not remember much about her time spent there, she was eager to see the 7th floor and meet the staff that helped her begin her trip down the road to this amazing recovery. She confidently walked through the doors of Loyola and made her way to the 7th floor ICU Burn Unit.

When Dr. Baldea was reunited with Autumn, he was amazed. In regards to her recovery and healing, Dr. Baldea said that on a scale of 1 to 10, Autumn was at a 10.

In addition to the intense therapy schedule, Autumn has started taking classes with a tutor. Currently her courses of Math, English and Social Studies even carry over into the weekend due to her busy schedule.

This month, she also added her scar tissue massage therapy.

What might seem like a hectic schedule to some, is actually just a reflection of Autumn’s dedication to her recovery. She continues to set goals that she is eager to reach. She is a force and we are going to see new levels of what it means to be Autumn Strong!

Autumn and her family will make their way back to Shriners Hospital in Galveston in January for a procedure on her head known as tissue expansion.

Tissue expansion is ideal for scalp repair because the stretched skin on the scalp retains normal hair growth. Most other body tissue does not grow hair to the same degree. The surgeon will place a small balloon-like device underneath the affected area. Over time, the balloon will be filled with silicon to encourage the skin to keep growing and stretching until it covers the intended area on the head.

The Hamilton family specifically asked me to extend their deep appreciation to everyone for the countless meals that were sent and shared with them- pork tenderloin, ribs, chicken pot pies, pizzas, brats and more!

They also want to sincerely thank all of their friends that have stood by them providing immeasurable love and support.

Finally, we wanted to make note and recognize all of the devoted, magnificent friends that Autumn feels so blessed to have in her life. Too often young people are generalized and their character denigrated. We want to pay tribute to these loyal friends for the love and support they continue to shine onto Autumn.

As you can see from the information above, Autumn’s journey back is not over. We want to respectfully ask that everyone continue sending love and prayers to Autumn and her family. Thank you to everyone and remember to stay #AutumnStrong!

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$150,592 of $250,000 goal

Raised by 1,926 people in 9 months
Created April 29, 2018
Fundraising team
on behalf of Dave Hamilton
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