Burned three-year-old: 'She's fighting'

File photo / Thinkstock
File photo / Thinkstock

A 3-year-old girl who was badly burnt after she was believed to have lit a candle in memory of her twin sister is fighting her horrific injuries, her uncle says.

Arna Hopkins suffered burns to half of her body when her dress caught fire at her Wairarapa home on Monday.

She was taken to Middlemore Hospital in a critical condition. She had surgery yesterday and today was in a serious but stable condition.

The accident came a month after Arna's twin sister Mila died of a Down's Syndrome-related illness in Starship Children's Hospital.

Arna was believed to have been trying to light a candle, as she had seen her parents Regan and Penny Hopkins do following Mila's death.

Regan's brother Kane Hopkins said Arna was in lot of pain today but was doing her best.

"Burns are a horrible, horrible thing and they really demonstrate the fragility of the human body,'' he told APNZ.

"She's doing everything she can. She's fighting.''

Mr Hopkins said the family was focusing on little victories.

"The first stage is for Arna to be able to do things like breathe on her own. So it's all a lot of little steps at the moment before she comes back to Wellington, before she is out of hospital.''

Regan Hopkins, who suffered serious burns to his hands when he went to his daughter's aid, was still at the family's home near Martinborough.

He was still in a lot of pain but would try to get to Auckland next week.

His wife Penny, who has been by Arna's side in hospital, was an "incredible women'' who was keeping chipper.

"I just don't know where she finds the strength, but she's keeping positive and she's right there for her daughter,'' Kane Hopkins said.

The family was very grateful for the medical team treating her.

"The quality and the commitment of the medical professionals - those people are saintly. It's just amazing.''

Mr Hopkins said people had been touched by the family's story and there had been an outpouring of generosity from the community.

"The family has been inundated with messages of support.''

An account has been opened for donations to help the Hopkins.

* Donate to: Support For Arna, National Bank 06-0689-0298651-00

- APNZ

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