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Strangers help Michigan teenage burn survivor pay for surgery to save voice

Brian Adams shares story after horrible accident

DETROIT – To call him a survivor doesn't really even begin to explain what 16-year-old Brian Adams has been through.

Three years ago, Adams was in the care of his mother when a horrible accident left him clinging to life.

“He was living with his mother in Northern Michigan, and while he was in her care and custody, she was making butane hash oil, and she ended up blowing up a whole entire hotel,” said Robert Adams, Brian Adams’ father.

Brian Adams suffered severe third degree burns over 85 percent of his body. At the time, doctors gave him less than a five percent chance of surviving.

When his father got word: “My heart stopped," Robert Adams said. "I just panicked, you know? I drove straight to the hospital. I was praying to God, ‘Please save him. Let him be okay.’ When I realized how bad the injuries were, it shattered me. Immediately. I couldn’t do anything.”

A letter from Brian Adams’ doctors explained that at the time of his injury that there were no hospitals in Michigan able or available to provide the care he needed.

“We were in a bad situation when the Shriner’s called, and that’s how Brian’s life was saved,” Robert Adams said.

Brian Adams was flown to Shriner’s Hospital in Boston, where, miraculously, he survived.

In the years since, he has undergone more than 200 different procedures and surgeries.

“It’s amazing," Robert Adams said. "He’s definitely a fighter. I’m proud of him. He’s never given up.”

That's why this father was determined not to give up when a new challenge arose.

Brian Adams' upper airway is closing up from the scarring. It's now smaller than the tip of a pencil.

Without surgery, he will lose his ability to speak.

“I wouldn’t be able to talk whatsoever,” Brian Adams said. “Pretty much if this hole closes, I won’t be able to talk at all.”

The surgery will cost $150,000, even with physicians waiving their fees and nurses volunteering their time.

Their insurance denied the request to have the surgery performed in Boston, saying it was available "in network" in Michigan.

But the Adams say their trust and confidence are in the doctors who saved Brian three years ago and know his case best.

“The continuity of care and his trust and emotional side, it just has to happen there,” Robert Adams said. “I couldn’t fail. I had to have it happen where he needs it. I can’t risk anything with him. He’s lost so much.”

As word of the situation spread, Brian Adams' GoFundMe account grew.

“Our fingers are still sore from trying to reply and thank everybody as it was happening," Robert Adams said. “It was, like, the most beautiful miracle I’ve ever witnessed in my life.”

Brian Adams hopes to become a burn doctor someday.

But in the meantime: “I just want to be able to go and do stuff like a normal kid,” Brian Adams said.

This surgery will bring him closer to that goal. There is still a long road ahead, but the Adams are grateful for everyone who stepped forward to help them on their journey.

“To actually make that airway procedure happen is just, it’s so life changing for him. And, I’m so happy for him,” Robert Adams said.

The goal has been met to cover the airway surgery, but Brian Adams still faces many more expenses to come. Click here to visit his GoFundMe page.

To follow Brian’s journey or send him a message of support, visit his Facebook page.


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