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Oct 14, 2016

A Burn Victim’s Road to Recovery

He was severely burned to both legs and a hand in an unfortunate mishap at his home in Concepcion, Corozal District, in June. But after spending a month and a half in grave condition at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City, nine-year-old Antonio Castillo received critical surgery at the Shriners’ Hospital for Children in Galveston, Texas, as part of their continued assistance to Belize through the Burn Victims Mercy Fund. He spent his tenth birthday in hospital, but is now back in Belize and walking on his own two feet. Correspondent Aaron Humes caught up with him and his mother on Thursday and has the following report.


Aaron Humes

“So you are looking forward to going back to school and learning your studies?”


Antonio Castillo, Burn Victim:

“Yes. I will try to get like ninety or a hundred so my grade can be up.”


Aaron Humes

“Okay, and what would you like to be when you grow up?”


Antonio Castillo

Antonio Castillo

“I would like to be a psychologist.”


Aaron Humes

“Okay, so you will stay in the medical profession?”


Antonio Castillo



Aaron Humes, Reporting

This ten-year-old from Corozal can dream big dreams because of a different set of medical professionals – the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children in the United States.


Yvette Burks

Yvette Burks, Burn Victim Mercy Fund

“Shriner’s just celebrated fifty years of service. They have been honing the skills of treating acute burn in children for fifty years; we are so blessed in this country to be able to access that care for our children. And not withstanding a child’s circumstances of burn, economic background, geographically where they are from, I believe that every child deserves the opportunity of being served by them if they reach the criteria, which is unfortunate of needing that care. And the criteria of course needs to be that their burns are so bad that they would either be at risk of dying from those injuries or they will be very impaired and have life-long issues that will not allow them to enjoy a decent quality of life.”


According to Antonio’s mother Michelle, who taught at a school in Corozal Town and lived in Ranchito village at the time, her son’s unfortunate run-in with gasoline led to severe burns and left her scrambling to find help.


Michelle Castillo

Michelle Castillo, Antonio’s Mother

“I knew that he needed professional health care because of the burn issues and so I was seeking help, I put it on Facebook and I shared it. And many friends called me and text me and said not to give up and try to get this help. I personally Googled it on the internet and then I found that there was a Shriner’s Hospital in Cincinnati and also in Galveston, Texas. And so I asked Miss Yvette Burks from BERT for help and I asked her to contact people who she knows so that they can help me to carry my son there at Shriner’s. Thanks to God that she opened many doors and there was also a person in Belmopan, Seven Day Adventist, who helped in providing the funds for us to go on the plane.”


That trip was in business-class, but still rather uncomfortable in the circumstances – the mother and son left on the day Hurricane Earl hit Belize, August third. But after several months out of the country, Michelle is pleased by her son’s progress although he still has a way to go.


Michelle Castillo

“Well thanks to God he can walk, although not normal. And that’s the reason why I need to carry him back again to Texas in the month of December and in March. That’s the recent appointment that he has right now so I need to gather funds to carry him back. I also need to reapply for my visa and his visa and to take out another passport for him because it was a temporary passport that I got for him because it was an emergency. After he was extubated, well thank God we had this opportunity to go to Shriner’s Hospital.”


Antonio too is thankful.


Antonio Castillo

“When I go out December the fifth. I think them beucase they help me a lot ot recuperate. I thank the people too of Belize because they paid my passage to go to the United States. And the persons that prayed for me in Concepcion village; they actually make I feel much better because God opens the door so that people can get better and heal too. And they could do things; with God you can ask for anything.”


Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.


The Burn Victim Mercy Fund will solicit assistance for the return trips to Texas in December and March and as we said before, the cost of the critical care is free and the hospital treats burn victims without regard to the family’s ability to pay. If you would like to donate to additional personal expenses for the Castillo family, kindly contact Michelle at 627-7288 or drop off a donation at Atlantic Bank, account number 211064131.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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