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Nicholas, 9

Northern Neck | Services: Emergency Medicine and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)

Strength to Shine

After a kitchen accident left him with second and third degree burns on 36% of his body, Nicholas Pierson was airlifted from Tappahannock and transported to Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU's Pediatric Emergency Room.

"I went with him in the helicopter," says Shelley, his mother, "and my husband, Danny, drove to meet us there. There was no way I was letting Nicholas out of my sight."

Nicholas spent two weeks in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and nearly a month in the hospital's Burn Center where he went through seven skin graft surgeries and worked with an Occupational Therapist to improve his range of motion and flexibility. Shelley was with him the entire time.

"We were there for about 45 days altogether," she says. "It was a long and stressful time, but the nurses in the Burn Center were great."

After discharge, Nicholas returned for follow up appointments once a week for nearly a year. In order to minimize scarring, he wore pressure garments on his arms and legs for two years, which also had to be periodically re-sized as he grew.

This fall, Nicholas will enter the fourth grade, and, like any nine-year-old boy, he looks forward to spending plenty of time outside doing what he enjoys most, hunting and fishing. "He's definitely an outdoor child," says Shelley. "He doesn't like to stay inside or play video games."

"We are still keeping an eye on him," she continues, "but Nicholas doesn't have any limitations because of the accident."

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