By Jane Nambi
Tilly Sawford, the five-year old girl who has undergone over 300 surgeries ever since incurring severe burns when she was just fifteen months is recovering well.
At one year and three months old, Tilly fell, head first, into a boiling bath of hot water and suffered severe burns although luckily, her face did not get any damage. Over the past few years, she has been under going surgeries which have mounted up to 321 to see her recover.
Her mother, Emma Sawford, 26, narrated the incident which happened on March 8 2009. “I was cleaning upstairs at home and my washing machine had finished running downstairs. Normally I put Tilly in her cot if I can’t see her, but she was playing with her Princess Kitchen. I went downstairs for a few seconds. I heard a scream and ran back upstairs. Tilly was in the bath tub. She must have leaned over and fallen in. Her eyes rolled back and she went unconscious with the pain. I picked her up straight away and pulled the plug out. Her skin was coming off in my hands. I think I started to go into shock, I couldn’t speak properly, it was awful. Tilly was only in the water for seconds but it was enough to cause her to pass out with the pain.”
Her Kyle Sawford was with her mother when they took her to Queen’s Medical Centre before she was transferred to a specialist burns unit at Birmingham Children’s Hospital at 3am where she underwent a 12-hour operation. “It felt like the wind had been knocked out of me, my world started to fall apart,’ said Mrs Sawford. I genuinely thought I’d lost my daughter. I thought several times that I would be planning a funeral. The fact she hadn’t died is a miracle – I’m so grateful. We’ve since had to move out of that house because it brings back too many bad memories.”
Despite all the hardships of seeing their child endure pain, Tilly’s mother is glad the operations are paying off. “She can walk a little bit, she struggles to get up the stairs but she normally gets on really well. She’s so independent, she doesn’t like me doing stuff for her unless she really needs it. Tilly absolutely loves school, she’s got so many friends and she loves going. She’ll go to get the register for the teacher and enjoys playing with her friends. She tries to do everything, you never see her upset or grumpy, it’s absolutely amazing, she just gets on with it. I’m just thankful every day because it’s just amazing that she’s alive. Her legs have been bad recently but we’re hoping to get her into horse riding if we can, she absolutely loves it.”
Talking about her situation, Tilly said: “I feel better than I used to, I can’t wait to get back to school and play with my friends. I love singing too, I always sing whenever I can. School is a lot of fun, counting is my favorite thing to do.”