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Layne Chesney: One year since Fort Pierce teen badly burned at New Year's Eve bonfire

One year since teen burned
Posted at 10:32 PM, Dec 28, 2018

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Many of us look forward to New Year's Eve as a celebration to wrap up the year.

For one Fort Pierce family, the night will always mark the moment their teenager’s life changed forever.

That is when Layne Chesney, 14-years-old at the time, was badly burned at a bonfire.

Burns covered the majority of her body, and doctors originally were not sure she would survive.

One year later, she is still in the hospital recovering, but her progress is exceeding expectations.

Friday, her mother Leigh Ann Chesney updated us on Layne’s progress this year, and what lies ahead for her in the year to come.

“Layne, her condition changes day to day,” Chesney said.

Chesney says her daughter still fights through good and bad days.

“Yesterday, she ate, she was conversational, she was more alert. Today, not so much. That’s the thing with her and her condition, it changes every single day. We never know what to expect,” Chesney said.

But Layne is no longer at the same risk for infection. Her immune system is getting stronger so she will continue to gain muscle and regenerate nerves. She has met major milestones.

“She’s had to learn how to walk again, learn how to stand by herself again, learn how to use her hands, learn how to simply roll over in bed. Those are the things she used to take for granted, and I think most of us take for granted.”

Layne has also kept up with her school work, working with a teacher in the Miami-Dade School District. But her grandmother, Carol, says she misses her friends and misses being home.

Layne’s family says she will have another busy year focused on recovering in 2019. Her family plans to move her to a burn center in Augusta, Georgia to finish her medical treatment and then start on her rehab. After rehab, Layne will go through hand surgery, contracture releases, and laser treatments to remove scarring.

“It’s not been an easy process. It’s been difficult, some days more challenging than others, however, she refuses to give up. She’s not a quitter and she will do whatever it takes to get her back to somewhat of the person she was before.”