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Shriners Children's Texas Inspires Jesus To Go the Extra Mile

Jesus does not remember the accident that caused his burn injuries because it occurred when he was only 6 months old.

However, he does remember the struggles and the triumphs he has lived through since then. Now 19, Jesus has overcome a number of obstacles along the way, discovering that achievement is possible with optimism and determination. He credits his positive attitude from his time at Shriners Children’s Texas, where he was inspired to reach his goals, big and small.

Looking back on his childhood, being in the hospital for regular surgeries was the norm. While most kids would welcome time away from school, Jesus would plan his surgeries to happen around school holidays because he enjoyed learning and being in school. As far as he was concerned, the less school he missed the better.

His motivation for high achievement followed him into middle school, where he excelled at being a percussionist in the band, even though his injuries had taken away his left hand. At first, he attempted using a prosthetic device to assist with his playing, but he found that strapping the mallet to his forearm worked even better. By the time he got to high school, he was skilled enough to compete and placed fourth in an international competition in Indianapolis.

Jesus currently plays percussion with the Spirit of Houston, the marching band for the University of Houston, where he is majoring in real estate financing. Not only is Jesus a musician, but he is also quite an athlete. He is an avid runner and recently decided to run a marathon. Last year, his friend invited him to start training together for the Houston Marathon, which happened in January. As the race approached, Jesus got nervous and he backed out at the last minute. He ended up instantly regretting that decision.

“The thought lingered in my head,” Jesus said. “I should have been out there with him, even if it took six or seven hours, whatever it took.”

It’s really the most amazing care. I’m really fortunate that I was able to have a chance here, and hopefully I’ll be able to give back to kids like me.
Jesus, Shriners Children's Texas former patient

Jesus looked at other upcoming races and signed up for four of them. He decided to build from a 5k to a 10k, and then progress from a half marathon to a full marathon, all in a total of five weeks. Most runners take 12 to 16 weeks to prepare for such a schedule.

It was a daunting task, but he competed in all four races within five weeks. His half marathon time was just under two hours, and his marathon time was 4 hours and 19 minutes. Burn injuries can cause issues with sweating and overheating during physical activity, making this accomplishment even more impressive. “I don’t think anytime I was at Shriners I was told I can’t do something,” Jesus said. “It’s just amazing."

Jesus only told a few friends that he was going to do the marathon and ended up surprising everyone after it was over.

“I wanted to actually do it, and then, you know, say I did it,” Jesus said. “I just keep surprising people."

Jesus Goes the Extra Mile

Jesus likes to be physically active and also set an example for others.

Patient on winner's stand

Jesus after a recent race

Former patient at race with a medal

Jesus getting ready for his next race

Patient with Shriners Children's Texas board member Daryl Atkinson in the hospital lobby

Jesus with Shriners Children's Texas board member Daryl Atkinson in the hospital lobby

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