Boca kids and their families are raising money to help a boy who was badly burned last month.
Peter O’Gorman, 13, is in the intensive care unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami with severe burns to his chest, arms and legs.
His grandfather, Daniel O’Gorman, said Peter is in a lot of pain, having endured three skin-graft operations so far. But his long-term prognosis is good. His face has already started to heal on its own.
Peter was burned accidentally on Sept. 15. It was an early-release day from school, and Peter texted his grandfather that he was going with three other boys to one of their homes. His grandfather told him not to go, he said. But Peter went anyway. No parents were home.
The boys decided to make a “flameless fire” with denatured alcohol. They doused some paper and lit it with a lighter.
Peter caught fire.
One of the other boys called 911 right away. Police ruled it an accident.
Peter has been in Jackson since, with second- and third-degree burns over 50 percent of his body. He is working with a psychologist and a physical therapist and is expected to remain in the hospital for another three or four months.
Seeing him in such pain is difficult for his grandfather.
“He’s one of the kindest kids you’d ever meet,” Daniel O’Gorman said.
Some of Peter’s medical expenses are covered by Florida KidCare. But his grandfather – who is raising Peter, as well as his brother and sister – had to take time off from his realtor work to be at the hospital most days. And he has the added expenses of commuting to Miami and parking every day.
Daniel O’Gorman is himself recovering from prostate cancer.
“It’s rough. But I know I have to be strong for Peter. That’s what I’m doing right now,” he said.
The community has rallied to offer help and empower Peter’s friends to do their part, too.
Friends and neighbors have brought food to the family and helped care for Peter’s brother and sister, who are 8 and 16.
Students at Don Estridge High-Tech Middle School, where Peter is in the eighth grade, raised more than $1,000, which they plan to use to buy him a laptop.
And now Peter’s teammates and their families from Boca Hoops, where the O’Gorman children play basketball, are organizing a fund-raiser for Oct. 22 at Sugar Sand Park.
From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., they will be serving refreshments, selling bracelets and holding a silent auction to help ease the financial burden on Peter’s family. On the auction table: The opportunity to ride in the car with five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell at a local racetrack.
A trust account has been set up for Peter’s care. For information on how to donate, email Daniel O’Gorman at firstname.lastname@example.org.