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news News Monday, December 9, 2019 Monday, December 9, 2019 12:29 PM - Monday, December 9, 2019 12:29 PM

Teen burn survivor wants to give back to the burn community

Teen burn survivor wants to give back to the burn community

Tyler is a teen burn survivor who dreams of growing up and working with kids just like him. Just last Thanksgiving, during a family camping trip, Tyler thought he was pouring diesel to rekindle a bonfire, but it was in fact gasoline. The flame followed the stream and the gas can exploded in his hands. At just 14, Tyler was resuscitated twice and transported to two hospitals before finally making it to the intensive care unit at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Galveston. He had a three and a half month stay in the hospital’s burn unit, has had more than 14 surgeries and hours of intense physical therapy. Through it all, Tyler has had a positive attitude.

“Tyler has an amazing personality, so when we heard he hopes to work with burn survivors in the future, we wanted to encourage that,” said Trey Wing, Board of Governors member for Shriner’s Hospital for Children — Galveston.

During their Red Tie Gala in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Dec. 7, Firefighters for Healing Founder Jake LaFerriere awarded Tyler a scholarship to attend Camp RED in 2020. “At Camp RED, which stands for Realize Every Dream, Tyler will have access to a wide variety of activities that will prepare him to be more confident and comfortable in his skin,” said LaFerriere. “We hope that Tyler’s time at Camp RED with campers who have similar injuries, feelings, fears and concerns will help him realize his dream to work with the burn community.”

Firefighters for Healing was established in 2010 after Minneapolis firefighter Jake LaFerriere suffered third and fourth degree burns in a backdraft explosion while battling a house fire. It was at the hospital while being treated for his burns that Jake met young children who were undergoing the same painful treatment for their injuries. He wanted to do more. Jake founded Firefighters for Healing, a 501(c)(3) non-profit with the mission of supporting burn survivors and firefighters.