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Care, innovation, education and research

news item News Tuesday, May 21, 2019 Tuesday, May 21, 2019 10:06 AM - Tuesday, May 21, 2019 10:06 AM

Meet Yaretzi

Yaretzi is a beautiful, fun-loving and vibrant 5-year-old girl who loves to play with dolls and help in the kitchen, and wants to become a mom one day.

In late 2017, her happy-childhood days were put on hold by a serious burn injury that occurred when she was attending a New Year’s Eve family gathering away from her home in Monterrey, Mexico. While sitting outside, she reached for a potato chip and lost her balance. A plastic folding table that held a bowl of hot punch collapsed, spilling its contents down her back. Yaretzi sustained serious burns to 48 percent of her body.

She was rushed to a nearby hospital that unfortunately did not offer specialty pediatric burn care. A decision was made to contact the Michou y Mau Foundation in Mexico City, and within two days she was transferred to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Galveston. Yaretzi spent the next two weeks in the pediatric ICU while undergoing three skin-grafting surgeries.

Since leaving the hospital as an inpatient, she has visited three more times for laser surgeries, and wears compression garments to help reduce her scarring. During one of those outpatient visits, she had an instant opportunity to become a patient ambassador for the hospital, making her debut in a Spanish television commercial filmed at the Houston Shriners Hospital with other Spanish-speaking Shriners patients. “She’s a natural,” said Angel Martinez, a nurse and part-time public relations team member who accompanied her for the commercial shoot.

Even though she leaves her 2-year-old brother at home when she comes to visit the hospital, she looks forward to her visits. According to her mother, “Shriners turned a bad experience for her into a great adventure. She loves being here. It’s something she enjoys. And, she loves the care that’s been given to her.” So much so, that since her first stay, Yaretzi has been motivated to learn English so she can communicate better with the staff that she loves so much.

“You can tell the people that work at Shriners love what they do and are dedicated to what they do,” said mom. When asked what she would say to those considering donating to Shriners Hospitals for Children, she said “Your donation would really make a difference in saving someone’s life.” Having been born and raised in the U.S., she further explained, “Children in other countries don’t get the same care they get at Shriners. Shriners stays with kids until they can’t do any more.”