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For one family in Western Kentucky the day began like any other. A mother is awakened around 5am by a beautiful 7 ˝ month old baby boy. Mom and dad preparing for the work day, packing the diaper bag, preparing snacks, and toys. Mom drops the child off at the babysitters, just your typical everyday American family. Sounds normal right? At noon, mom received a call from the babysitter, requesting that she come get her child, there had been an accident. Mom immediately left work to go to the child, thinking another child had bitten him or some other minor incident, never imagining what she was going to walk in on. As mom entered the home, her son was wrapped in towels & sheets crying. Going straight to him, the mother unwraps the towel to pick him up, she realizes the majority of his skin came with it.

She rushed the child to the nearest emergency room and he was within a short amount of time he was transported to the nearest trauma center. After about 24 hours, a neighbor, Sonny Rogers, came to visit the family. He was a Shriner and much aware of what his organization had to offer. The parents wanted deeply for their son to receive the very best care but unsure about leaving their family, and in this area, what is considered the best care available were unsure of sending their son to Cincinnati Burn Hospital. The family was still waiting for an open spot in the nearest burn center so the family asked Mr. Rogers to supply more information- “get the ball rolling”.

The 7 month old was flown to the Cincinnati Burn Hospital as soon as possible. At estimation, 50% of the infant’s body had been burned with scalding water. 40% were 3rd degree. “It would be a long roller coaster ride of a recovery” stated the doctor. “He has many obstacles to overcome.” The Doctor assured them that they had made the best decision for the care of their child, and looking back now, he was right.

As the parents entered the infant’s room for the 1st time, they stood in amazement. The equipment and staff were unbelievable. Not knowing what day it was, there was a present and cards on the counter. It said: To: MOM, Happy Mother’s Day! The mother didn’t realize or even care that it was Mother’s Day, she was just worried about her child’s life. The staff had thought of everything. It was a gift to mom from her little baby boy that was fighting for his life and a card from Dad. The parents can’t describe the compassion they felt throughout their stay. It was a great burden lifted. Now they could focus on the healing of their child.

The hospital was like nothing the parents had ever seen. Not only were they concerned about the care of their child, but they were in a big city with no immediate contacts. Fortunately, Shrine Burn Institute comes with everything they could have ever needed and more. Not wanting to leave their child for a moment, the hospital was equipped with hotel-type rooms, so the parents of acute care patients don’t have to leave the hospital if rooms are available. Funds were available to the family to purchase food. There is a cafeteria located in the hospital so the parents didn’t have to go out for food and the food was good. Every member of their team including housekeeping and cafeteria workers were great!

As the years have gone by, the follow-up appointments are not as frequent as that of the beginning. However, they are just as important. Because 14 yrs ago, when Tim & Melissa Baldwin made that first leap of faith, entrusting the care of their son, Aarron, to a place where they had not been, to people they did not know, it was the best decision they ever made. The Shriner’s Burn Institute not only saves lives, but assists in giving burn victims every opportunity to excel.

Aarron, now 15 years old, enjoys what most boys his age like. He is active in football and baseball. He loves the outdoors- hunting and fishing. Aarron excels in academics and is well liked by his teachers and peers. While what happened to Aarron was a horrible accident, thanks to Shriner’s, he and so many other kids are able to take that experience and have positive outcomes. Shriner’s Burn Institute is a place where miracles can happen.