The power of a gift: Raven’s story

Stop, drop and roll’ saved 11-year-old Raven from having burns all over his body. Instead, when an outside fire pit flared up and caught his shorts on fire, the flames were smothered before burning his entire body.

“Even though he dropped and rolled, the flames were so big that it singed his hair on the back of his ear,” said Raven’s mom, Lupe De La Torre.

“I saw the flames and I was just like freaking out … I started rolling on the grass and screaming. That’s when my mom came out … she patted my shorts down and then cut them off,” said Raven.

Raven was rushed to the only comprehensive burn center in the Valley – the Leon S. Peters Burn Center at Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno.

“They were very good at helping me learn how to do the bandages,” said De La Torre. “And as much as it hurt us both to have to do it, him physically and me emotionally, we got through it and now his little wound is just as big as my hand.”

She said the burn team cared for Raven like family, “The nurses were all very friendly, everybody treated him as a family member … it made us feel like part of a bigger family, instead of just patients.”

Since his release from the hospital, Raven has visited the outpatient care center sometimes twice a week. Luckily, it’s close to home.

“So if [the Peter’s Burn Center] was not here, Raven would either have to fly down south or go up north, which really puts a strain on the family. In his circumstance, his mother was able to be here every day with him and also take care of his sister who was home,” said Community Regional’s child life specialist Kimberly Kozub.

Most of those who suffer from burns are children, making Community’s pediatric and young adult burn care services essential for the region’s children to receive the specialized and long term care they need.

“When a child is burned it really affects the whole family, so it’s important to have the family right next to the bedside with the child during their treatment,” said Kozub.

Gifts to support pediatric and young adult burn care help create child-friendly renovations, increase burn education, recruit top pediatric specialists and more. Kozub's specialized position as a child life specialist was made possible in part by generous donor-investors.

“The Bushes have given us an amazing gift … we have this vision of where we want to go with pediatrics and their money is going to help us exceed what we could only have imagined a year ago,” said Kozub.

While Raven needs outpatient visits for years to come, De La Torre and her family are so grateful to have the care he needs, right here, so close to home.

“To know that we were going to be able to stay here in Fresno and not have to drive anywhere else, I can’t thank all those people enough,” said De La Torre, “to have people who have never even met us do this was … my heart says thank you.”
Over the next few months, a caring donor-investor from our Valley, Dave Bush and his family, will match gifts up to $500,000 to pediatric and young adult burn care at Community Regional – increasing the impact of your gift. For more information or to give to pediatric and young adult burn care, visit www. youngburnsurvivors.com.

Ginny Joslin reported this story. She can be reached at MedWatchToday@CommunityMedical.org.