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Burn Survivors Help Ryder Trauma Celebrate 20th Anniversary

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Michael Brewer at the Ryder Trauma Center on July, 18th 2012. (CBS4)

Michael Brewer at the Ryder Trauma Center on July, 18th 2012. (CBS4)

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South Florida Crime

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Burn patients shared their stories of survival Wednesday at a celebration for the 20th anniversary of the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

“These patients are our patients forever, (even) after they’ve left the burn center,” said the burn center’s director Dr. Louis Pizano.

The University of Miami / Jackson Memorial Burn Center at Ryder Trauma has been saving the lives of patients for decades. According to the hospital they treat approximately 300 patients per year.

“At the beginning I thought it was going to be a terrible life,” said Feride Buch who was severely burned in 1995. “Thanks to all the people and the family at Jackson Memorial it has been a wonderful life.”

It’s a similar story for other patients like teenager Michael Brewer who was doused with rubbing alcohol and set on fire by classmates. Even though Brewer has had a remarkable recovery, visiting the hospital Tuesday wasn’t easy for the teen who said it brought back difficult memories.

“I’m good, but I’m feeling sick to my stomach right now,” said Brewer. “But it’s alright.”

More than two thirds of Brewer’s body was severely burned. He spent three months recovering at Ryder’s burn center.

“I don’t think I would have survived if it wasn’t for them,” said Brewer.

The teen’s mother, Valerie Brewer, said she doesn’t know how her family would have coped without the staff at Ryder.

”They helped us everyday, they gave us strength and they’ve become part of our family,” said Valerie Brewer.

The story of success abounds for patients of the burn center. For survivor Cooper Grecco, she sustained burns to 60 percent of her body. It happened in 2005, when her cast burst into flames in an accident. Now more than 78 procedures later, Grecco is living a vibrant life.

“Burns are definitely something very hard to deal with,” said Grecco. “But I’ve had great support from my family, my friends, from Jackson and all the doctors. Everyone is so great here.”

Click Here for more information on the burn center at Ryder Trauma Center.

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