I want to do all I can for burns unit that saved my life; Brave Joanne's campaign to raise cash for vital care.
Byline: DAVID RALEIGH
A MOTHER who was engulfed in flames when she lit a portable cooker has begun a campaign for the unit where she received life-saving treatment.
Joanne McMahon didn't see an open flame when she threw methylated spirits on to it - engulfing her face, neck and hands in a ball of fire.
The mother of five spent a month in an induced coma in the National Burns Unit at St James's Hospital, Dublin, and a total of 131 days learning how to swallow and walk again.
In her first interview since the horrific accident, Joanne said: "I went to sleep in Cork on May 30 and I woke up in Dublin on July 8. "I wasn't familiar with the burns unit until I ended up there myself.
"Their care from the early acute stage to now and through to rehabilitation has been outstanding."
The nurse explained how the incident at a family gathering to celebrate one of her children's confirmation changed her life for ever She revealed: "I have a little bain-marie, a portable one, and I have a little stainless steel container that goes in under it to keep the water hot, to heat the food.
"For years what I would do is put a bit of methylated spirits into it, light it and put it in underneath.
"On the day I did the same thing as always. But I didn't see that the sun had camouflaged the flame and I didn't realise it had been lit.
"I came along with my bottle of methylated spirits and poured it in on top of a lighted flame that I wasn't aware [was lit]. So it was instant."
Her husband Mike rushed from work to find the horrific scene at their Castlemahon home last year. He added: "Joanne was on the lawn and they had towels around her.
Dr John Leonard [local GP] was with her and the emergency services arrived and kicked into gear. They were wonderful."
Joanne, who faces further surgery and ongoing physiotherapy, her husband Mike and pal Liam Woulfe have now set up the Joanne McMahon Thanksgiving Fund in a bid to give something back to the unit that saved her life.
She added: "We would just like to help the unit so other people in the future - like myself who never expected to end up there - will continue to get the most advanced care available."
The fundraising drive will be launched Monday and will culminate 131 days later with a walk, run and a cycle on April 17.
RECOVERY Joanne McMahon from Co Limerick