Before the accident, we had a very structured life. Damian never played video games. He was enrolled in before and after school programs. Every morning, I would get him ready for school, head to work, everyone would be home by dinner time, then we did homework together and went to sleep. The accident changed everything. Can you imagine your whole family’s life-changing in one minute?

Damian had just started his winter break. My husband and Damian had decided to go to dinner at the neighbor’s house, while my mom and I went out of town for the weekend. We stopped at a restaurant to grab a quick bite to eat and I called my husband to check-in. Not ten minutes later my husband called again, but I missed his call. I could see mom across from the restaurant pick up her phone and immediately knew that something was wrong. For the next three horrific hours, I worried and wondered what happened to my son as I drove to the Arizona Burn Center.

He was the tiniest little thing laying on the hospital bed. It is incredibly scary to see your child completely bandaged up and not being able to see his face. My husband was also being treated down the hall for the burn injuries to his hands from trying to put out the fire.

Damian had been sitting ten feet away from a backyard campfire with his dad when it all of sudden exploded. Unfortunately, he was wearing a flammable jacket that caught fire in the front. My husband and the neighbor could not pull the jacket off of Damian so they rushed to pull it over his head to remove the flames from his clothes and body. As I stared at Damian, all of the questions ran through my head: Will he be okay? Will he be blind? Will kids be mean to him?

I didn’t think about the road ahead with a burn injury. I thought it was a burn and that’s it, but I was not dealing with a child coming home with a broken arm. I was dealing with a child that will have issues with scarring and trauma. I didn’t think about all the procedures and surgeries that will occur after his initial treatment. It is such a day-by-day situation, so I am now at home full time caring for him.

I never wanted to see a child go through this type of pain, especially not my child. The Arizona Burn Foundation made this whole situation much easier. I had to make a lot of tough decisions, as a parent of a burn survivor, but the Arizona Burn Foundation always treated us like family. All of the virtual therapy programs through the Arizona Burn Foundation have helped Damian a lot and he is incredibly confident now. Damian has a tracheotomy, breathing issues, needs therapy, and still a long road ahead. Damien still dances and acts like no one is looking, because of the support he has received and his shining personality. I hope that the confidence that he has gained through all the therapy never goes away.

-Yuriana Cazares

Damian’s Mom