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A Mother’s Story

Samantha's healing journey after a devastating burn.

My name is Katheryne and I am the mother of Samantha, who is 4 years old. Samantha had an accident in 2018 in our native country, the Dominican Republic, when she was almost 2 years old.

Her 16-year-old aunt was also hurt. We were at home preparing to build a fire to toast marshmallows. Samantha was sitting on her aunt’s lap at a distance that should not have been dangerous. We were not aware that close to the fire there was a flammable liquid without the top on. This caused an explosion and Samantha's aunt suffered a large burn to her left arm while trying to shield Samantha’s face and chest. She was on fire so she tried to roll Samantha over with her right arm to the ground, and though Samantha was not in flames, she was on the ground unconscious and was burned. We arrived to the hospital in just four minutes and later were transferred to a public hospital that specialized in burn care.

Lack of Access to Quality Burn Care

Samantha experienced the most difficult and painful process of her life. Hospitals in the Dominican Republic do not have sufficient resources; people are treated on metal tables without any coverings, and the process of removing the burned skin and disinfecting wounds is done while the patient is completely awake and feeling absolutely everything (without anesthesia). Samantha was exposed to four different strains of bacteria, which made her situation even more complex.

After two months, Samantha had not improved. Seeing the gravity of the situation and desperate to get Samantha out of those conditions, we took her out of that hospital and brought her to a private clinic, where she finally began to heal. Her paternal grandmother helped me find the Shriners Club in the Dominican and they helped me start the process to come to Shriners Children’s.

Specialized Care With a Lot of Heart at Shriners Children’s

We initially went to the Galveston hospital in 2019 where, after one month, Samantha started to walk, thanks to her physical therapy! We then transferred to Shriners Children’s Boston later that year, where both Samantha and her aunt are now patients, as it is easier to travel to Boston from our home.

I have so many words to say about how well we were both cared for – Samantha as a patient and me as her mother. Samantha’s care team truly cares about my daughter’s physical and emotional healing. We have both felt comfortable, trusting and completely among family.

So Many Favorites at Shriners Children’s Boston

Melissa, our care manager, is kind, genuine and understanding, and has a wonderful heart. From day one, Samantha’s nurse, Debbie, formed a great connection. But the one staff member that Samantha doesn’t stop talking about is Rebecca from child life. Samantha loves Rebecca; she gets so excited every time she is traveling to Shriners Children’s Boston because she is going to see her. And then there is Aimee, her physical therapist. Thanks to her kindness and understanding, Samantha is always calm when she has her therapy sessions. Samantha is stronger and everything is much easier when Aimee is with her. She feels safe. Finally, I can’t leave out Dr. Robert Sheridan. He is her angel. Samantha talks wonderfully about him and says that he is the one to help her have pretty feet and that he takes care of her. She is always happy when she sees him and says she loves him.

Dr. Robert Sheridan is Samantha's angel. She says he is the one to help her have pretty feet.
Katheryne, mother of Samantha, Boston

A Close-knit Family

We now live in Georgia and are a large close-knit family that gives a lot of love, joy, and most importantly happiness to the youngest of the house, Samantha. We are her support, as at her age it is difficult to understand what happened to her. We try to teach her that the most valuable thing is family, who will always be with her.

Samantha loves to play with her dolls and in her play kitchen. She likes going to the park and riding her bicycle, jumping on the trampoline, baking cookies, dancing and shopping. Her favorite meal is salami with white rice and scrambled eggs, a very common dish in our country.

Grateful for Shriners Children’s

As Samantha’s family, we would like to express our thanks for all the help that Shriners Children’s Boston has provided for our little one. We thank God for creating you all as part of our family and for giving us the opportunity to see that our children will be able to have a better life and future, thanks to your efforts and dedication.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed – doctors, nurses, care managers, assistants, cooks, all hospital personnel and the wonderful program that helps children with burns. You have given us a better future and a second chance for our family, so that our daughter and her aunt can live healthier and happier lives.

Meet Samantha

From Santo Domingo to Boston, she has captured hearts with her captivating smile.

Samantha in hospital on her second birthday

Samantha celebrated her second birthday at the Robert Reid Cabral Hospital in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Samantha outside

Samantha stands outside Shriners Children's Boston when she first arrived at the hospital in 2019.

Samantha with her mom, Katheryne

Samantha with her biggest champion, her mother Katheryne.

Samantha with nurse Debbie

Nurse Debbie formed a special bond with Samantha from day one.

Rebecca, Samantha and mom

Samantha becomes silly with excitement when she knows she will see Rebecca from child life.

Samantha, Juan Diego and both of their mothers

Samantha looks up to her friend and fellow patient Juan Diego. They can be often found spending time together along with their moms Katheryne and Jackie.

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