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Young sailors stand on the shoulder of a Master and Commander: Charles Bartlett Hyde

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Grayson Cadle, 22, burn survivor, returns home

HeadlineGrayson Cadle, 22, burn survivor, returns home

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Feb. 28, 2019– In July of 2018, 22-year-old Grayson Cadle’s life was forever changed when a butane tank explosion almost caused him to lose his life. Fortunately, Grayson survived the incident and he’s ready to continue his life as normally as possible.

July 9, around 4:30 p.m., is when the incident happened. A loud bang could be heard blocks away, and witnesses said they saw a man who was on fire, run out of a house.

Today, Grayson was able to clear up some of the rumors surrounding the incident. He told us that it was a normal day for him, and that when he arrived home from working at Protel BPO Call Center, the first thing he needed to do was use the bathroom. So he stripped off his work clothes – down to his boxers and undershirt – and went into the bathroom.

A flick of the light switch was all it took for the explosion which completely damaged the lower flat of the two-storey cement house. There was a gas leak from the butane tank in the apartment room next to Grayson’s, and the leak only needed a small trigger, like the lighting of a match, or the flick of a light switch, for it to cause the explosion.

Grayson remembers clearly how he ran outside the house while patting his hair, which was on fire. He said he was conscious throughout the entire ordeal, and remembers his puppy urgently greeting him before he walked over to a police truck which had arrived.

In fact, Grayson did not lose consciousness until he was put into an induced coma. He told us he gave the officers his mother’s number, but they didn’t call her.

At the time, Grayson’s mother, Marianne Cadle, was at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) visiting a friend. She could have seen the black smoke filling the air but never guessed it was her house. She saw the ambulance enter the hospital compound without even knowing her son was inside.

Marianne told us that shortly after, she was informed that the fire had happened at an area behind the Civic Center. She then became alarmed, knowing that that was where her house was also located. She took a cab home and was met with the aftermath of the explosion.

When she could not locate her son, whom she knew had already reached home from work, she asked the officers to take her to him. When she arrived at the KHMH, the first thing Grayson said was, “Mommy, I did not do anything!”

After that, Grayson was put into the coma, and when he woke up, he was in the JMS Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia.

Grayson told us about the different treatments he underwent. He said he had to get skin grafts to 75% of his body. He also had to get hyperbaric treatment after his toes became infected because of a large cut he got on the bottom of his foot after stepping on glass while running out the house after the explosion happened. This infection caused doctors to amputate one of Grayson’s toes, and he lost part of another.

He also had bones removed and had to go through rehab as well as physical, occupational and speech therapy. Grayson said he has had to re-learn how to talk, eat, and swallow.

Many persons might have still been reeling from the trauma of the event, but Grayson was more cheerful than anyone could have expected. After his arrival back into the country on Saturday, February 23, he happily did interviews with other media houses, and wasn’t afraid or unwilling to talk about the tragic day in July.

Grayson said he was excited to be home. He told us he missed his family, especially his little brother, and his puppy. He said he is enjoying all the Belizean food he missed in the 7 months he spent in the US, including tamales, chimole, and fry jacks.

Grayson is still on his journey to recovery, and has to undergo some laser surgeries in the near future to help with the scarring of his skin. As it is, he has to wear a compression suit on his entire body, including his face, to prevent the scars on his body from thickening.

Also, Grayson tries to stay out of the sun as much as possible, or uses sunscreen and his mask when he does go out. He said his skin is as delicate as a baby’s skin.

The young man’s future is still as bright as before the day the incident happened, except with some changes. Grayson said that before the incident, he was only living for himself, but he has seen how important family is and wants to dedicate more of his life to his family. He told us he plans to go back to school but will now change his major from business to something in the medical field, as his time in the burn hospital really inspired him to help others.

Grayson and his mother had a host of people they wanted to thank. Grayson listed many names from the burn hospital, including Dr. Robert Mullins; Janet Shaw, his speech therapist; Audrey Mullin, his occupational therapist; and many others who had become like family to him.

Marianne and Grayson also wanted to thank Yvette Burkes of the Burns Victim Mercy Fund for being able to assist him to fly out of the country to get specialized treatment.

Marianne also was grateful for her church family at the All Saints congregation, especially the Praise Team, and specific members such as Althea Young, Julia Hall, and Reverend Ilona Smiling. She said she also wanted to thank her family who helped her through this difficult time, and everyone else who supported them through the journey, both here in Belize and in Georgia.

Grayson believes it is by means of divine intervention that he is still alive today. He told us that if the door hadn’t been blown off in the explosion, he would not have made it out alive. He is grateful to everyone who supported and prayed for him, and grateful that he still has his life to live.

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To – David

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