No one would dispute 9-year-old James lives his life with heart.
The Cincinnati boy is the first to extend a handshake when meeting someone new and eager to embrace someone he loves. When asked what makes him grateful, he replies with an enthusiastic shout, “Everything!”
James’ family calls him a miracle. One that started on Christmas Eve 2013.
Early that morning, when James was just over one-year-old, his family’s home caught fire. James was rescued but not before sustaining critical burns. He was rushed to Shriners Children’s Ohio, then located in Cincinnati, where he spent months undergoing countless surgeries and skin grafts. In some cases, the damage was so severe that doctors had to amputate some of his fingers and toes.
As the foremost experts in pediatric burn care, Shriners’ commitment to patients lasts years. Nearly 10 years after the fire, James is still a patient of Shriners Children’s Ohio and a sister Shriners hospital. As he grows and his skin stretches, he will need surgeries to release some of the scar tissue and orthopedic therapy where the fire permanently damaged his tendons and bones.
Yet James doesn’t set limits for himself. He loves to play sports and video games, read comic books, and color. He faces each step in recovery journey the same, with a smile and a hug for the doctors, nurses, therapists and social workers who helped save his life.
After all, his most important attribute, his heart, remains whole.