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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Child burn victim released

Friday, July 29, 2011

Anthony and Colleen Schleppy's prayers are slowly being answered as their youngest daughter Carmen continues to walk her way toward a full recovery.

The Schleppy's received the go-ahead to take Carmen home around noon Wednesday, and Carmen was discharged Thursday.

"I am extremely excited," Colleen said. "But at the same time worried because the doctor mentioned going back to school while talking to Carmen. She missed the entire last month with all the fun stuff, but I am still happy to know she's going home."

Almost three months ago, 7-year-old Carmen suffered third-and fourth-degree burns on approximately 60 percent of her body.

Carmen and Colleen were taking a break from moving to a new home one evening.

After sitting down to watch television by the living room fireplace, Carmen's skirt caught fire, and she started screaming.

The outfit Carmen was wearing melted on to her, and she was placed in the Intensive Care Burn Unit at Riley Hospital for Children, where hospital staff intubated her to stabilize her breathing.

While being an inpatient at the hospital, Carmen underwent nine different skin graft and debrisment surgeries, the last of which was around the end of June.

During the first part of her stay, Carmen's temperature fluctuated repeatedly and she was frequently in and out of consciousness.

Carmen was also in significant amounts of pain at the beginning of her stay.

"Watching her dressing changes is one of the hardest things since the fire. Seeing her legs and being able to tell where they had to cut away at her legs is more than heart breaking," Colleen said previously. "One of the nurses here quickly learned that if she gets four millimeters of morphine about five minutes before waking her up from sedation, she won't wake up screaming."

In addition to suffering a lot of pain, Colleen previously told The Brazil Times Carmen's appetite wasn't what it should be.

"She's eating again, but it's like a baby starting out," Colleen explained.

As of June 22, Colleen told The Brazil Times, "She's not walking yet and has to learn how to stand up again."

But now, just over a month later, Carmen is walking independently down Riley hallways.

"I was excited I was walking again," Carmen said. "I wasn't able to walk until I came to this hospital (Methodist)."

Not only is Carmen able to walk around, but her parents also posted a video on the Facebook group, Pray for Carmen Schleppy, showing Carmen riding a large tricycle through the hospital as fast as she could.

"It was just like riding my own bike at home," Carmen said.

The nurses and therapist around the hospital say Carmen is a brave little girl and one nurse even told Carmen she was her hero.

"Carmen's appetite has increased and she's back to eating like she normally would," Colleen said.

In addition to working hard during physical therapy and regaining her appetite, Carmen has grown to love her music therapy sessions.

"My favorite part is playing with the frogs and the ducks," Carmen said about one of the many games her therapist and her engage in.

During the game, Carmen has to pick the animal toys up with her legs and feet and throw them on to a drum (or pretend pool as Carmen knows it).

"She has to tap her feet and use her lower legs," Colleen said. "And the therapist has tried to incorporate talking about the fire into her therapy."

Carmen and her music therapist have been hard at work crafting Carmen's spoken feelings about the accident into a song to the tune of Justin Bieber's hit single, "One Time."

"Carmen's therapist helped her to sing the song and has put the song on a CD for us to keep," Colleen said. "I'm excited to hear it."

Since the accident, Clay Community members have stepped up to help Carmen and her family.

An anonymous party established the "Colleen Schleppy for the Benefit of Carmen" account at Fifth Third Bank, 637 E. National Ave., Brazil, where community members, family and friends can make donations to assist the family with financial burdens associated with Carmen's Riley stay.

The Schleppys may still need financial assistance due to Carmen's continued medical needs.

"After we go home, she'll be following up with the burn doctor, physical and occupational therapist on a regular basis. Sunday is her only day off," Colleen told The Brazil Times. "She'll have to have a few more skin release surgeries so that her skin grows with her and she'll have to wear pressure garments to lessen the amount of surgeries in the future, so we're not completely done yet."

Other community members have joined the Facebook group to receive updates on Carmen's progress and to leave the family encouraging words, support and prayers.

In addition, Hunter's Lounge, 1450 E. United States 40, Brazil, hosted a benefit for Carmen in late June where the lounge accepted donations for Carmen and served donors a home-cooked meal while Terry Chew and DJ music provided entertainment.

"We are so grateful to the lounge and the House of Hope for helping our little girl. I am just overwhelmed emotionally by all the support the community and even the world has shown," Colleen said.

She added Carmen has even received gifts from a canine and its owners in Germany.

The Schleppys said they want to thank the community and everyone for their support.

"Pastor Mark Thompson, of First Baptist Church, and his family took my 13-year-old son in like he was their own while we were here with Carmen," Colleen said.

She also wanted to thank Brazil First UMC and Anthony's employer, SG Solutions, Terre Haute for providing her family with meals at the hospital.

"I wanted to mention Steph and Deb Plummer and valleymoms.com for helping with childcare," Colleen said.

Those interested in making a donation to the Fifth Third account for further assistance can contact the bank at 446-2543. To offer support and encouragement or to receive daily updates regarding Carmen's recovery readers can join the Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/-groups/19935160....

The Schleppy Family and Brazil First Baptist Church, South Walnut St., are inviting community members to welcome Carmen home Sunday, from 4-5:30 p.m.

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Such wonderful news! Even though the road to complete recovery is going to be long, it's obvious that Carmen is a strong and inspired young lady ! I just wish I had lots and lots of money to help financially. May God Bless You Carmen and your family !!!! Stay strong always!

-- Posted by JaniLou on Fri, Jul 29, 2011, at 10:48 PM

Welcome home!!!

-- Posted by localgal on Sun, Jul 31, 2011, at 2:40 PM

Fantastic homecoming news! God bless Carmen and the Schleppy family. You are all heros to me!

-- Posted by Proud of My Country on Mon, Aug 1, 2011, at 1:36 PM

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