You would absolutely love this eight year old little boy. He is so full of energy and wants to investigate all the interesting things in this world. I can see how he was accidentally burned at his home in Bitung (Indonesia). His father was burning debris while cleaning things up around his house. Fino put a stick in the fire and was watching the flame on the end of the stick. He played with the stick for a short while and laid it down. He went to a shed and came back with a jar of kerosene. Who knows what he was thinking. He was near the stick and that is when his world changed. The tragic combination of a flame and fuel resulted in a horrible burn. He was burned from his chin down his chest and right arm and hand. The arm and hand were eventually fused to his body. The fingers were now stuck together and his hand was pulled tightly down in a very painful looking position. The chin was fused together with the neck. His parents did not know what to do. They understood that there was a remote chance to get help in Indonesia and even if they found a doctor who could treat him they did not have the funds to pay for the care.
It was that frustration and loving concern that brought them to our attention. I heard there was a badly burned boy in Manado and I was asked to meet him. I went to meet them and could see that he needed the same kind of help that Yulce had received. Yulce was another severely burned child who was receiving reconstructive surgery in Los Angeles. I could see the urgency in the face of his parents. They were desperate to get him some treatment. Peter and Esther took photos of Fino and asked Dr. Peter Grossman if he was interested in helping Fino. It was amazing how much compassion he has for children in hopeless situations. He was interested and his father Dr. Richard Grossman agreed to be the lead surgeon. The Children’s Burn Foundation lovingly promised funding.
We needed to get a passport and visas for them and make arrangements for their transportation and housing in L.A. A lot needed to be done. It actually happened very fast and with Rebecca Grossman’s help in getting the visas we saw this moving quickly. The flight was arranged and Peter and Esther Scarborough brought Fino and his father, Jeffrey, in July of 2005. Dr. Richard Grossman went right to work and within the first week in America he had already had his first surgery to free his neck and right arm. It was a success. He was being hosted by the same host family who had opened their doors to Yulce. Tina Johnson was also doing her awesome job of coordinating. She was doing double duty for two months while Yulce and Fino were getting treatment. She is a special lady who made the success of this effort possible.
Fino went bowling for the first time in his life when he was recovering from his second surgery. Dr. Peter Grossman had arranged for a fun night of bowling and pizza. It was clear that Fino made the adjustment to both very quickly. He could not use his right arm to throw the bowling ball because it was wrapped after having surgery. He put the fingers of his left hand in the ball and walked down the approach and let the ball go. He would then turn his back and go sit down without even looking at the ball hitting the pins. He would bowl down the adjacent lanes that were not even open for bowling. He once walked down the lane to retrieve a stranded ball. He was a lot of fun to watch. He would sometimes sit on top of the ball return in the familiar flat-footed squat all Asians can do without effort. He looked like a Seagull sitting on a log. The main thing is he was having fun and overcoming his handicap.
Fino continues to progress from surgeries to therapy. He will require a lot of therapy because his right arm and hand were so badly injured. He is having a great time trying to learn English and make friends. Your heart goes out to him. He is a beautiful little boy and now has a prospect of a productive future. Jeffrey, his father, is so thankful to everyone for what they have done for his son. He misses his wife and infant daughter in Indonesia and look forward to the day when they will be home. That day should come sometime in 2006. I want to thank all of you who have been a part of assisting in the care of Fino.