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"Living an Exceptional Life" Thanks to Shriners Children's Boston

In early December 1995, a cooking accident left Peter with second- and third-degree burns from boiling water over a third of his body.

After being taken to a local emergency room by ambulance, doctors debated whether he would need to be taken by helicopter to another hospital. Just 3 years old, Peter was ultimately transferred to Shriners Children’s Boston by ambulance.

Peter was an inpatient for a little less than a month and had skin graft surgery during that time. Initially in a wheelchair after his accident, the Shriners Children’s Boston rehabilitation team helped him learn how to walk again. He was able to go home just a few days before Christmas, but returned frequently for physical therapy. Due to the severity of his burn injury, Peter was required to wear a full body compression garment for an extended period of time to promote healing and reduce scarring. He was seen regularly for follow-up treatment throughout his childhood, with his final visit taking place as a teenager right before leaving for college.

Although he was very young, Peter recalls a few experiences that were bright spots during his inpatient stay. “There was a Christmas party that I recall where I got a few presents, and I remember that being a real highlight for me,” he said. The Shriners Children’s Boston hospital was being renovated and expanded at the time, and Peter enjoyed watching the construction project progress.

As an adult, Peter’s appreciation for his care at Shriners Children’s Boston has deepened. “It was so long ago and I was so young that there is a lot I don’t remember, but I know that I received excellent care from everyone – from the nurses to the doctors, including Dr. Sheridan,” he said. “Even to this day, whenever I see a new doctor and they see the work that was done, they remark that it must have been done at Shriners.”

I have continued to live my life the way that I want. I credit being able to live an exceptional life to my family, and to the care that I received at Shriners Children’s.

Peter has also developed a unique perspective for the way his accident and recovery have shaped his life. “I have always viewed what happened to me as a point of pride,” he said. “I view it as an incredible obstacle that my family and I were able to overcome together, and I am truly grateful for that. I am very aware that people in similar situations have not been as fortunate as I was.”

There is one memory of his Shriners Children’s experience that really stands out for Peter and his family. “My mom told me a story that I think encapsulates my life experience well,” he said. “On the day I left the hospital, she was sitting in the lobby, crying. Dr. Sheridan sat with her and told her I was going to live my life like everyone else. He assured her I was going to grow up and play sports, go to school, go to the prom, get married and do everything that was planned for me in my life.”

With the support of his family, that is exactly what Peter did. He went on to become a three-sport athlete in high school and excelled at swimming, playing club water polo as a student at UMASS-Amherst. “Everything that Dr. Sheridan told my mother came true, and I know that none of that would have been possible without Shriners,” he said.

Peter’s passion for swimming has led to exciting opportunities like completing the Escape from Alcatraz open water swim in San Francisco. He leads the running club at the Massachusetts State House, where he works, and enjoys surfing, snowboarding, golfing, playing music in several bands and traveling extensively.

Although Peter’s burn injury and treatment happened many years ago, he often reflects on the lasting impact of his experience. “I have continued to live my life the way that I want,” he said. “I credit being able to live an exceptional life to my family, and to the care that I received at Shriners Children’s.”

Meet Peter

Peter has led a very active life thanks to Shriners Children's Boston.

Peter wearing body compression garment

Peter's Batman compression garment helped to promote healing after his treatment at Shriners Children's Boston.

Peter on sliding board

With the support of his family, Peter's burn injury never slowed him down.

Peter at beach

Motivated by his passion for swimming, Peter completed the Escape from Alcatraz open water swim in San Francisco.

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