Family of Nelson House girl burned in shed fire starts online fundraiser

A Nelson House, Man., family has created an online fundraiser to help cover their rent while their six-year-old daughter is recovering from second- and third-degree burns she sustained in a shed fire in June.

Bryanna Linklater, 6, has undergone 6 surgeries so far to treat serious burns

Bryanna Linklater, left, has been in a Winnipeg hospital since she was severely burned on June 6. (Bryant Linklater)

A Nelson House, Man., family has turned to the internet for help, setting up an online fundraiser to help cover rent while their six-year-old daughter is in a Winnipeg hospital, recovering from second- and third-degree burns.

"It's a hard thing for me especially," said Bryant Linklater. "I like to work for things, so it was hard to ask for help. We need it now more than ever."

Bryanna Linklater has had six surgeries in two months to treat her second- and third-degree burns. (Bryant Linklater)
Linklater's six-year-old daughter, Bryanna, was severely burned in June after she was trapped in a shed that had caught fire. She was one of four children inside the shed at the time.

Linklater said his daughter was burned in the face, chest, stomach, thighs and arms. She is currently recovering at Children's Hospital.

"Her arms and hands are more injured than other parts of her body because she was pushing on the shack, trying to get out," said her father. "The fire was right under her arms."

Linklater said Bryanna has undergone six surgeries to treat her burns, and doctors have said she will need more surgery until she is a teenager.

Moved into rental home

Linklater and his wife, Tawny, stayed in a hotel with their one-year-old son for the first month and a half. Their three other children stayed with family in Nelson House.

Tawny and Bryant Linklater said it was a hard decision to ask people for help. They said they did it for Bryanna. (Holly Caruk/CBC News)
The couple said they were tired of being separated from their children, so the family moved into a rental house in Winnipeg on July 20.

"I'm not able to work yet; we need all the help we can get," said Linklater. "We have this nice house we stay in, but the rent is $1,600 a month plus utilities, plus we need food."

The 29-year-old father had to quit his job in Nelson House when his daughter was hurt. He's been spending every night sleeping in her hospital room.

"It's tough seeing your little girl going through more stuff than you have yourself," he said.

The family said they will use the money raised to pay for rent. Linklater said he will start working as soon as Bryanna is out of the hospital.

He added that many people from Nelson House have already donated money and household items to help them start their life as a family in Winnipeg.

"Very overwhelming, very happy for it," he said. "Me and my wife are very thankful for all of the support we are getting."

Road to recovery

Linklater said his daughter saved her younger brother from the shed fire. Five-year-old Kobe suffered no burns. The father said his daughter got her brother out first and sent him for help. She remained trapped with her two friends.

Bryant and Tawny Linklater wear masks to make Bryanna feel more comfortable when she has to wear her mask, which smooths out her skin graft. (Bryant Linklater)
"I am proud of her. I am happy she got my son out of there. I would be even more happy if she got out of there," said Linklater. "But I am proud of her for trying to help her little friends."

Linklater said his daughter is still the happy little girl she was before the fire, but still has rough days.

"A lot of times she cries because of the pain on her hands, her chest mostly," said Linklater.

Bryanna has to wear a plastic mask four hours a day to smooth out the skin graft on her face. Her parents bought masks to wear too to make their daughter more comfortable.

"I do everything I can to make my daughter happy," said Linklater. "She wants me to be silly, I be silly. She wants to watch cartoons, we watch cartoons, One Direction videos, anything."

Bryanna Linklater's first outing from the hospital was to the One Direction concert on July 24. A doctor at Children's Hospital gave the family five free tickets. (Bryant Linklater)
Byranna's first outing from the hospital was to the One Direction concert on July 24. A doctor at the hospital gave the family five free tickets.

"When they came out she just lit up, she was so happy," said Linklater. "She just stood up out of the blue on her own strength. She wanted to walk around and get popsicles and popcorn with me. It was an awesome day."

About the Author

Jillian Taylor

CBC Reporter

Jillian Taylor has been with CBC Manitoba since 2012 and has been reporting for a decade. She was born and raised in Manitoba and is a member of the Fisher River Cree Nation. In 2014, she was awarded the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association's travel bursary, which took her to Australia to work with Indigenous journalists. Find her on Twitter: @JillianLTaylor