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news News Tuesday, August 27, 2019 Tuesday, August 27, 2019 2:27 PM - Tuesday, August 27, 2019 2:27 PM

Juan Diego, Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston patient, reflects on Team Brave

Juan Diego, Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston patient,  reflects on Team Brave

At Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston, the staff members work tirelessly to help their patients gain confidence and learn important skills for their lives moving forward. The program Team Brave was created in order to help children reintegrate into the community and become more comfortable outside of the hospital walls. Child life specialists and volunteers from the Boston Firefighters Burn Foundation lead groups of patients on adventures and activities in the Boston area. The Boston Firefighters Burn Foundation generously funds Team Brave, making this incredible program possible.

During the most recent excursion, the group went to the Museum of Science, where the patients admired beautiful butterflies in the sunlit butterfly garden before moving on to other exhibits. Juan Diego, a 15-year-old patient from Honduras, particularly enjoyed the light exhibit, which had aspects that were fun and interactive.

An active and enthusiastic member of Team Brave, Juan Diego describes the program as a positive opportunity to make friends, participate in new and exciting activities, and venture outside of the hospital. During a Team Brave outing to a paint studio, Juan Diego highlighted a friendship that he formed with a boy named Sanjo. “He’s just as crazy as I am,” Juan Diego said with a laugh. He appreciates the opportunity to form friendships with people from all over the world, as well as the therapists and firefighters that make the program possible.

Some of his favorite Team Brave activities have been visiting the aquarium, going to the paint studio and taking a dance class. He holds special memories from each event. He remembers feeding a 90-year-old turtle, painting a vineyard vines whale, and attempting traditional Latin dances, such as the merengue and bachata.

While Team Brave is fun and educational, it also pushes patients to discover more of what they are capable of. For Juan Diego, Team Brave has broken down boundaries. Speaking from the heart, he said, “The child life specialists and firefighters encourage you to do more things than you think you can do. Like painting with three fingers. I only have three fingers on this hand, but I am very good at painting.”

Juan Diego at zooJuan Diego at zoo