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Dec 1, 2016

Burn Victims Mercy Fund Getting Money for Worthy Cause

The Burn Victims Mercy Fund has been operating for years now, but not much is known about how the funds are generated to assist victims in times of desperate need. The organization recently supported two minors, who were severely injured in an arson on Aloe Vera Street and had to be flown to Shriners Hospital for Children in Galveston, Texas for urgent treatment. There was not enough money in the fund, but they pulled it off. Tonight, News Five’s Isani Cayetano goes one on one with Yvette Burks. Here’s his report.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The tragic loss of life; in this case, the deaths of siblings Ian Sambula and Empress Hamilton, wasn’t the result of a lack of effort on the part of family and friends.  In fact, the outpour of support came from all corners, including the Burn Victims Mercy Fund and Shriners Hospitals for Children.  Upon learning of the tragedy that befell the Hamilton family on the night of October fourth, the nonprofit quickly sprang into action, extending itself to medevac the pair to Galveston, Texas.


Yvette Burks

Yvette Burks, Chair, Burn Victim Mercy Fund

“It was almost impossible to make this happen.  It was a whole series of miracles, I have to believe that it was meant to happen.  I did not have the credit to guarantee the plane to come in, I only had twenty thousand dollars to hold the plane, to get the plane to come and I thought they would say no.  But because it was too little children I was able to convince them and thankfully Shriners also vouched for my integrity, I was able to convince them to hold the twenty thousand dollars on my credit card and come, even though I should have given them over thirty-two thousand U.S. dollars.”


Though falling short of the total amount required, twenty thousand U.S. dollars is very much a significant amount of money; funds that the underprivileged family would have been unable to meet.  According to Yvette Burks, Chair of the Burn Victims Mercy Fund, she took a gamble on the belief in something uncertain.


Yvette Burks

“It was really, really frightening because there was no money in the account.  None, zero, zilch.  I owed it all and I decided to do it on a leap of faith and thank God!  I must tell you that the community has been outstanding.”


The organization was established to assist victims of fire who are severely injured.  In this case, the brother and sister combination suffered third degree burns to more than ninety percent of their bodies.  The fund was instrumental in getting both kids to a specialized medical facility in the United States, despite the sad outcome.


Melissa Hamilton

Melissa Hamilton, Mother of Deceased Children [File: November 16th, 2016]

“Galveston is the best hospital eena di world.  Good doctors, good nurses.  They did their best for my kids, like they were their own.  They tried every medication that they know about, every treatment that they know about.  Everything that they could possibly do they did.”


The humble acknowledgement from the grieving mother is also testament to the value and need for the fund.  With its coffers fully depleted, there is an ongoing effort to replenish the reserves of the Burn Victims Mercy Fund.  The staff of Transparent BPO has taken up the mantle to gift to the fund a generous contribution.


Rob Johnson

Rob Johnson, VP of Operations, Transparent BPO

“With Transparent BPO one of our core values is to make a difference in the lives of our employees and in the community and so every year we donate money from the company.  We also do things throughout the year giving back to the community through service and through our employees.  But this year we selected two recipients and the Burn Victims Mercy Fund we gave seventy-five hundred dollars to and we also gave seventy-five hundred dollars to Marla’s House of Hope in Belmopan.  This year in particular we had a list of finalists and we put it out to our employees to actually vote and these two were the overwhelming favorites from that vote so we’re pleased to give that donation back to those two institutions.”


It may be a drop in the bucket in replenishing its financial resources, but every drop is a much needed sum that is sure to go a long way.


Yvette Burks

“Because this is a day to say thank you to the lovely staff of Transparent BPO I will not list the other donors at this point but suffice it to say that I have felt the warmth and generosity of the Belizean corporate community this time around that I have never felt.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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