Scalped in shearing shed accident
IT was shearing time in a the busy woolshed, and Gilgandra girl Casey Barnes was tramping down wool as her shearer father and boyfriend worked nearby.
Her gorgeous head of long, curly hair tied back in a bun, her friend Roseanne Burns says, the young rouseabout was packing freshly-shorn fleeces down to make more room in the wool pack when it happened.
Somehow, a piece of her hair became caught in the electric motor above her head. The belt-driven motor drives a shaft which runs the shearers' shears.
As the motor caught her hair, and tightened it's grip, Casey's scalp came with it, ripping away from the back of her head and above her eyes and ears.
It took seconds. Then, as the devastation sunk in, the emergency rush from country to city began. Gilgandra, in central west NSW, is a five-and-a-half hour drive from Sydney.
That being unfeasable, Casey was flown to Sydney for 20 hours of emergency surgery to attempt to save her scalp.
Afterwards, she lay in an induced coma. Doctors hoped limiting her head movement would help the healing process.
More surgeries followed. But her scalp could not be saved.
Now, she has to pin her hopes on surgery to attach artificial skin to her scalp instead.
As the waiting game continues, the bills mount.
It's meant a massive financial hit for the rural NSW family. As shearers, they can't get paid for the time they aren't at work.
Then there's the medical bills, and the fact they're facing a long stint in Sydney as Casey recovers.
Desperate to help, Roseanne - the sister of Casey's boyfriend Boyd - established a GoFundMe page.
"Our darling Casey, who is such an incredible fighter, has a long road to recovery and will be based in Sydney for some time," Roseanne wrote.
"Both Casey and my brother are from country towns hours from Sydney. As a shearer and a roustabout, not only is it bloody hard work, but if it rains you don't get paid.
"There is no such thing as annual or sick leave in the industry. you don't work you don't get paid.
The money will be used "accommodation, food and travel expenses while family are needing to be based at Sydney to be with our beautiful, brave, happy-go-lucky-giggle Casey," Roseanne wrote.
In typical unassuming country fashion, the fundraising goal is a modest $20,000.
In just three days the tally has already topped $16,000, with donations from as far afield as Norway.