When we met Christian, he was a shy 7-year-old who came into the intake clinic with his face and head covered. His family had bought a home, but as is typical in the region, it was unheated. On a cold night, he and his older brother decided to build a fire outside to keep warm. They made a pile of trash to burn, but the fire wouldn’t start. Neighbors gave them a mug of gasoline to help ignite it, and after pouring a bit on the fire, flames leaped into the sky, startling Christian. He stepped back away from the fire, but he tripped in the process and the mug of gasoline spilled onto his face, chest and arms. The next thing he remembered was the ambulance taking him away with burns covering his upper body, arms and face.
We’ve helped Christian almost every year since then, removing and reconstructing burn scar contractures to give him back his functionality and the appearance he desires—to the best of our ability. Since our mission dates typically coincide with his birthday, we think Christian focuses on his surgeries as an annual birthday celebration boost!