Willow, 3, Survived a Horrifying Campfire Fall With the Help of Strangers

Danielle Wilkinson plays with her daughter, Willow, who together with her older brothers was out committing “random acts of kindness” Thursday afternoon.

Three-year-old Willow’s scars are still pink. They have stretched across her chin and wrapped around her arms and legs ever since a terrifying fall into a campfire last summer.

But if her mom’s plans work, every time the energetic girl looks at them she’ll be reminded of the kindness of strangers rather than the pain of the burns themselves.

To mark the one-year anniversary of the accident, which left Willow in hospital for almost a month with full-thickness (third degree) burns over eight per cent of her body, Danielle Wilkinson got her kids to break open their piggy banks and perform random acts of kindness to strangers.

“We had so many people come out of nowhere to help Willow when the accident happened,” she said. “She’s doing wonderfully today thanks to strangers — not only the doctors and nurses, but also the people who came to our immediate aid.”

Thursday afternoon, Willow’s older brothers Jackson, 7, and Rowan, 5, accompanied their mom and sister to the farmers’ market in East Lynn Park, near Danforth and Coxwell Aves., with their toonies and loonies in little plastic bags.

Despite talking up the activity for days, it was difficult to get over some initial timidness.

Rowan is first. He approaches a family and quietly asks, “Excuse me, would you like a free ice cream?”

The family stops, not quite understanding, so Rowan repeats his pitch. Soon three kids were happily walking away with gift cards worth a free scoop at nearby Carter’s Ice Cream. “Let’s go right now!” says one boy to his mom.

Now that the ice is broken, each gift becomes easier and easier.

Willow pulls a crumpled fiver from her duct tape change purse and hands it to a blueberry vendor. Danielle explains it should go toward the next customer’s purchase, no questions asked.

Family caregiver Megan Smedegaard suggests leaving pennies around to give someone a lucky day, and the boys scamper offm depositing pennies on park benches and in the middle of the path.

Willow adds a $10 gift card donated from the local toy store and less than 30 seconds pass before a group of three women pushing strollers stoop to pick it up.

Rowan tapes a toonie to a parking meter right above the coin slot, so it can’t be missed.

Danielle will later buy parking passes for families of patients in the Sick Kids Hospital burn unit and hopes to offer one a night’s stay in a hotel.

“The most positive thing that came from such a horrible experience was a renewed sense of humanity,” Danielle explained. “There needs to be more of that in the world. If I can teach my kids to be kind to people, then I’ve done my job as a mother.”

Source: thestar.com


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