A burn victim from Tallapoosa is on the road to recovery thanks to generous donations from thousands of strangers.
In September 2016, Courtney Waldon, a 27-year-old single mom, suffered third and fourth degree burns on her face and body after a camp fire incident. She spent almost three months in the ICU burn unit undergoing multiple surgeries. Doctors have said she will have at least 12 more surgeries in the next two years.
Six months ago, her family set up a GoFundMe account to help cover expenses since Waldon is unable to work due to the severe burns on her hands. They have raised more than $267,000 of their $300,000 goal. The campaign got a big boost in July when People magazine published Waldon's story and shared her road to recovery .
Waldon vividly remembers that day in September when she sat with her then husband of two months by a campfire cooking tuna steak and asparagus, she told People. She was on her phone using Facebook when her husband got up to relight the fire. Gas from a swinging gas can got on Waldon's body and she was suddenly covered in flames.
“I stopped, dropped and rolled while screaming bloody murder,” said Waldon to People. “I thought I was dying.”
Waldon had tried to use her hands to put out the flames on her face but she couldn't stop the burning. Fortunately, she was close to the hospital and an ambulance arrived quickly.
After undergoing multiple procedures and waking from a 30-day induced coma, Waldon went home. Two weeks later, her husband left her and their young daughter, Caroline. Unable to work due to her injuries and without her husband's income, Waldon has faced financial difficulties and increasing medical bills.
She and her daughter currently live with her parents while Refuge Ministries of West Georgia is in the process of building her a new home on her parents' property.
Money from the GoFundMe campaign, which continues to attract donors nationwide, will go toward the expense of building the home and will help pay the medical bills for the many surgeries she faces. The family also hopes to raise enough money to aid Waldon and her daughter in the future.
Waldon said she has been overwhelmed and "blessed" by the outpouring of support.