The Gift of Christmas, for patients like Glen

14 Dec 2023
Watch Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) burns survivor Glen Bennett on Seven Sunrise, as he details his heroic efforts to get mobile again after a horrific semi-trailer explosion that resulted in the loss of both legs.

This Christmas, the RBWH Foundation is asking us to donate to patient care innovation and medical research that improves outcomes for patients like Glen.

Former semi-trailer driver, Glen Bennett, and father-of-one suffered burns to 70% of his body and lost both legs in a horrific highway pile-up in 2020. This Christmas, Glen’s goal was to help decorate the family Christmas tree with six-year-old son Hugo.

“Decorating the tree wasn’t something I could do from my wheelchair but this year, thanks to my incredible rehabilitation team at RBWH, I’ll be on my new legs and reaching – literally – for the stars!” said Glen Bennett.

“Their skill and expertise in helping patients, like me, has been helped enormously by research funded by the RBWH Foundation.”

The RBWH Professor Stuart Pegg Burns Centre is the only adult burns unit in Queensland. It cares for just under 500 new patients each year and manages another 500, like Glen, who continue to receive outpatient treatment.

The unit has one of the highest survival rates in the world, thanks to a multi-disciplinary team consisting of surgeons, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, dietitians, social workers and psychologists.

Physiotherapy burns research, funded by the RBWH Foundation, is investigating ways to help patients start exercising early in their treatment.

“After a burn injury, skin will tighten to try to heal the wounds as quickly as possible,” said RBWH Deputy Director of Physiotherapy, Glen Volker (picture above, right, with Glen Bennett). 

“Patients tend to describe the feeling of skin tightness as being inflexible, stiff, and like a suit of armor limiting them from moving to their normal ability.

“Exercise is very important to overcome this stiffness and skin tightness.”

Some of the solutions, include:

  • Helping patients out of bed before breakfast, so they can sit up for meals
  • An outdoor walking group for burns patients
  • A peer support program, SOAR, using past patients as mentors

Many of the solutions have been funded by the RBWH Foundation through two annual grant rounds which directly support research and patient care projects. 

“Donations provide the gift of time for our medical teams to undertake research, improve the quality of time that patients enjoy with loved ones, and allow time for innovation and medical breakthroughs to happen,” said RBWH Foundation CEO Simone Garske.

“Many of the projects we fund, thanks to the extraordinary power of giving, have gone on to change world practice in intensive care, burns and trauma, maternity and premature babies.”

Please donate today to advance patient care initiatives and life-saving research.