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Meet Snyders: Spreading Joy at Shriners Children’s Boston

Snyders, an active and outgoing 5-year-old, suffered third-degree burns over 70% of his body as a result of a catastrophic kitchen explosion in his home country of Ecuador.

When it became clear that he could not get the burn care he needed close to home, his family sought other treatment options. It was late at night when Snyders and his aunt, Jeidy, finally arrived at Shriners Children’s Boston in June 2022.

During his initial inpatient stay, Snyders had multiple skin graft surgeries to close his acute burn wounds. He quickly bonded with members of his care team, including nurse Rich, and many of the other inpatient nurses. “He is very happy and gets along with everyone,” said Jeidy. “Everyone loves him, too.”

As he healed, Snyders took part in many activities led by the Shriners Children’s Boston child life staff, including pet therapy, music therapy, Christmas in July and jewelry making. He also enjoyed a special discharge party after his acute phase of treatment. According to child life specialist Jackie, Snyders became known as a “mini mayor” of the hospital during his treatment. “He built relationships with everyone he interacted with, and was open to participating in so many things,” she said.

When it was time to travel back to Boston this year for follow-up treatment, Snyders was ready for the trip. “He was not afraid of coming back,” Jeidy said. “He knew he was going to have more surgery, and he hoped that afterwards he would be able to run and play like he used to.”

Mature for his young age, Jeidy explained that Snyders stayed focused on his recovery. “He did his part,” she said. “He followed the doctor’s orders and cooperated so he could do the things he wanted to do.” Snyders worked extensively with the Shriners Children’s Boston rehabilitation team to help him get back to his favorite activities, including soccer. He formed special relationships with occupational therapist Jessica, and physical therapist Aimee, who was also struck by his resolve.

Snyders has always presented as wise beyond his years and was articulate in communicating his needs, even while undergoing painful interventions. He demonstrated amazing resiliency in his recovery.
Aimee, Shriners Children's Boston physical therapist

During his recovery, Snyders also made meaningful connections with other patients and participated in events outside of the hospital. He went on an outing with Team Brave, a collaboration with the Boston Firefighters Burn Foundation that helps patients reintegrate into community activities. “Meeting older patients who shared a similar experience really helped Snyders gain confidence,” said Jackie. “It was remarkable watching him participate and engage with his peers and the firefighters.”

Although Snyders’ care at Shriners Children’s Boston took him and Jeidy a long way from home, they remained in close contact with their extended family back in Ecuador, and celebrated the milestones of his recovery together. Jeidy recalled a specific conversation that Snyders had with his grandmother, telling her how excited he was to start school as soon as he got home from Boston. He wanted to show her how he could jump and clap his hands as a result of his successful treatment. “He was so happy to tell her that he could walk so much further, and his legs didn’t hurt anymore,” she said.

According to Jeidy, Snyders was also excited to share with his family that he was now ready to ride a bike. His care team was equally as excited to help him reach that goal. “His hand strength is now age-appropriate after this latest round of procedures,” explained Aimee. “He was able to ride a bike around the sixth floor, which is something that he had been talking about doing when he went home to Ecuador.”

Jeidy also recognized social worker Taya and interpreter Miriam as key members of Snyders’ care team, and expressed her gratitude for the support and guidance they received throughout their time at Shriners Children’s Boston. “I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart,” she said. “Everyone has been so helpful and supportive. I can’t even explain. It is a very special place.”

Meet Snyders

This outgoing 5-year-old spread so much joy during his treatment at Shriners Children's Boston.

Snyders reading

Snyders enjoys a fun activity soon after his arrival at Shriners Children's Boston.

Snyders with staff member

Snyders was happy to participate in many patient activities, including a special jewelry-making event.

Snyders playing video games

Snyders plays a video game while waiting for an appointment in the clinic.

Snyders with his aunt

Snyders and his aunt, Jeidy, pose with a stuffed animal he received as part of a donation to Shriners Children's Boston patients.

Snyders playing video games

Team Brave outings with the Boston Firefighters Burn Foundation gave Snyders an opportunity to engage with his peers.

Snyders in classroom

Snyders enjoys his first day of school back home in Ecuador.

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