Miles Marinazzo is the light of my life. He sparkles with love and humor and personality. He is kind and generous and always surprises me with his insight at just six years old. He is the youngest of five children and his four sisters adore him. He has an old soul for someone who was just days shy of his 7th birthday before his life was altered forever from a horrific accident.
What Happened to Miles
Living in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida is exciting on the Fourth of July. It’s one big street party in many neighborhoods. Keeping the kids safe is always a top priority. The following morning (July 5th) the neighborhood clean-up began. My grandson, Miles, was helping with the clean-up. Miles found a lighter and, next to it, an intact firework. Without understanding or knowing what would happen he lit the firework and it instantly blew up in his hands. His left hand was completely gone and his right hand was severely damaged. Miles also suffered burns on his face and upper body.
Miles was admitted into Broward Health Medical Center and after he was stabilized in the ER, was taken to surgery to repair the tissue injuries, fractures and burns to his right hand and arm and treated what remained of his left arm. He spent a few days in Pediatrics ICU and a number of day in Pediatrics Acute Care Unit. He was incredibly brave through unspeakable pain. He was treated with morphine daily and after several days his pain management team began to transition him off morphine. The newer medications he was on treated nerve pain, anxiety and phantom pain. Miles suffered from nightmares in the hospital and would wake up screaming in pain when the medications wore off. Helping him calm down so his nurses could administer a series of pain management treatments was our most difficult task. Seeing this little boy suffer in pain and fear was as heart-wrenching as anyone could possibly imagine. We are grateful for the excellent medical care and psychological counseling he received at Broward Medical Center while dealing with the trauma he suffered. His parents, grandmothers, sisters and extended family were with him every step of the way, providing the love and support he needed. Miles was discharged on July 18th, having spent two weeks in Broward Health Medical Center.
Now we are left to try to deal with the far-reaching effects of this tragedy. And we realize we can’t do it alone. We need your help.
My grandson, Miles, as many of my friends already know, is an articulate and funny guy. He loves fishing with his daddy, playing with his sisters, dancing with his mom, and his cousins are his best friends. He goes to Aikido twice a week and at the time of the accident he was in the middle of attending summer Aikido day camp. Aikido is a martial art that focuses on harmonizing with your opponent to bring peaceful resolutions to situations involving conflict. Miles will continue with Aikido once his physical wounds heal enough to allow him to do so. He was looking forward to starting 2nd grade in August to see all his friends. He won an award in first grade for being a “bucket filler” — someone who the teacher deems the person who most helps another get through the day with positive affirmations, friendship and encouragement. Miles likes to dabble in cooking like the rest of the family. He is a supreme joke-teller and has a pure joy for life. He asks so many questions about every topic imaginable. He loves bowling, indoor playgrounds, and swimming. Miles is one of those rare individuals who leaves a distinct and unforgettable impression when you meet him. He is active, smart, well-rounded, deeply loved and so kind.
What Lies Ahead
Miles is looking at a lifetime of medical expenses. As he grows, he will need new prosthetics, physical therapy and medical attention. Now that Miles is home and recuperating, his weekly visits to medical professionals will include at least the surgeon, the psychiatrist, the physical and occupational therapists, while his injuries heal from inside out. These are just the first steps he will be taking to heal. What the future holds in medical care for Miles has understandably not yet been completely determined. However, we do know that it will be some decades of appointments, prosthetics and learning to live with his “new normal.”
While he does have health insurance, it will in no way begin to cover the extraordinary expenses involved in the foreseeable future. And who knows about the long-term, when the very future of health care in the United States hangs in the balance. And at this time in our history, presumed health insurance is no longer a guarantee.
Together with my son, Daniel Marinazzo, we are working with an attorney to set up a Third Party Special Needs Trust on behalf of Miles. Any and all money raised will be set aside and carefully monitored to cover his medical expenses and other needs.
How you can help
1. Make a donation. We will be forever grateful for every donation, in any amount, no matter how small. All the funds will go directly to the Special Needs Trust for Miles and will be used for whatever he needs to heal.
2. Get the word out. Share Miles’ story on your social media — or send out an email. My son’s employer has already set a date for a fundraiser and we hope there will be others to follow.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any question about Miles, or making donations.
We all thank you in advance for supporting our beautiful Miles and our family as we deal with this horrific accident.