It’s been a tough year. A brutal, awful, painful, tear-filled year.
But, it’s also been a year of triumph. A year of inspiration, resiliency and love.
Basically, it’s been a roller coaster ride for the Burns Family.
Last June – a tragic accident changed everything for this Lewiston family. A lawn mower accident left then 10-year-old Gavin severely injured. The young boy was flown by Mercy Flight to Oishei Children’s Hospital – where his life was saved, but his leg – unfortunately – could not be. Despite doctors best efforts, Gavin had his left leg amputated just below the knee.
Now, one year later – after several surgeries, hospital stays and treatments – Gavin is thriving. There is still pain and fear, but this little boy is truly remarkable.
It’s a new normal. In an interview, Jackie Burns told me the pride she has for her son is limitless – just like his courage, “I am happy to report we have changed a lot. When we do things we just do them differently. We just adjust when we have to.”
That’s what life is about; adjusting when we have to. Sometimes, it’s more than others. Sometimes, it seems impossible – but when you have faith and an incredible support system, anything is possible.
“The school district has been amazing,” Jackie told me, “His teachers have been more helpful and caring than I could have ever asked for. The transition back to school was great they have helped him to adapt to his new ways. I am proud to say that next year he enters the middle school and he will have yet another amazing teacher. The district has allowed me to have a meeting to make sure that another transition to a new building and new atmosphere with be a smooth one. I have been so blessed to have such amazing support with the best teachers. During our transition back to school I felt as though we had another small family. I am truly blessed to have had Mrs. Block, Mrs Suita, Mrs. Chandler, and Mrs. Zito they have giving my son so much comfort throughout the school year.”
Comfort. Confidence. Courage. So many have helped Gavin find what he needed – when he needed it. From teachers – to his little brothers.
“My boys are so close since this. Jason goes beyond to help his brother and make sure he gets what he needs – it’s so cute.”
Gavin’s father – who was riding the lawn mower that night – struggles with guilt. It would be impossible not to. The truth is – tragedies happen everyday. We can be the best parents and bad things still happen. We can do everything right – and bad things still happen. What’s important is what’s happening now. A family is finding their way – finding a new normal – finding comfort and strength in one another. That’s their journey now.
They’ve spent the past year showing gratitude. Saying thank you to the first responders who saved Gavin’s life. Thank you to the 911 operator who helped during their worst time. Thank you to those who cared for their boy.
Tragedies change us from within. We find courage we didn’t know we had. We find support in places we didn’t know existed. That’s the case for the Burns family as they do everything they can to make it a good life for their boys. You can see it – in the photos. In the smiles. In the words of this mother who has gone through so much … life is hard but it’s good.
Gavin is getting fitted this week for a new prosthetic because he’s grown so much. He also had a special water leg made for him by Great Lakes Orthopedics. Jackie says that new leg has been amazing, ” He feels like a normal boy at the beach. He doesn’t have to crawl.”
Their motto from the beginning has been #Gavin Strong. And that is certainly true – but another motto they might consider is #Burns Strong – because they are all in this together – and the truth is – there is nothing stronger than the love of family. Nothing.