It's been nearly two weeks since a house fire severely burned a 7-year-old girl. Today, little Chelsea can finally breathe on her own and while the girl's mother is breathing her own sigh of relief, the start of the school year presents many more difficulties.
Chelsea Bardales is wrapped head to toes in bandages. Her mom, Irosis Bardales, hasn't missed a single day. She makes the hour drive from Brandenton to Tampa General. While Chelsea is deaf, everyone else can hear the joy in her mother's voice when she talks to her. Irosis is thankful her daughter can now wiggle her fingers.
It's been tough for the family watching the numerous skin grafts and surgeries.
"I thought I was going to faint. I felt horrible seeing her like that," said Irosis.
The fact her daughter almost died in the fire because she couldn't hear the alarms keeps her up at night.
"No family should ever go through this," she said, "We all need to be cautious."
This morning, she woke to the sounds of a school bus.
"I got very sad because it's so hard to realize we are not living like other normal families," she said while fighting back tears.
She tells ABC Action News an electrical short caused the fire, and with nothing to their name, she had no choice but to pull her other three girls from school.
To get on track with the new school year, Irosis says she needs help with school supplies. Anything from pens, notebooks and even backpacks will go a long way for her four children.
While she's pleading for help, in order to send her daughters back to school, she knows the community's kindness personally. Thanks to a $4,000 donation, Irosis is able to rent another home.
"I've had so much help from the community. I never thought people could be so generous!" she said.
Despite the tragic circumstances that led to this the Bardales family is full of nothing but hope for the future.
If you'd like to help out the family, check out their GoFundMe page.
If you speak Spanish you can call Irosis at 941-580-2417.