'It's brought me closer to God’: Hazel Green student feels free after extended hospital stay

Hazel Green teen beats the odds, survives horrific burn.

Posted: May 19, 2020 10:50 PM
Updated: May 20, 2020 7:38 AM

A Hazel Green teen's life changed forever on Thanksgiving. He had a bonfire accident that left him 80% burned.

After 134 days in the hospital, he's finally finding freedom, during quarantine.

On a crisp night in November, a friendly bonfire turned tragic.

"Something in me told me it was all under control, at the most frantic part of my life, I was at peace in my head. It was a weird feeling," James Boyle said.

Boyle caught on fire. He was given a 4% chance to live.

"They told me, you know you might not make it, and then I did. I was not suppose to," Boyle said. "They told me I was going to lose my hands. Still have them."

Boyle came home from Vanderbilt after 15 surgeries, during Alabama's stay-at-home order. Even though he wasn't allowed to go anywhere, he says he never felt more free.

"When I found out I was coming home, I called them and they both cried" Boyle said.

"We are like, we are so free. We can do whatever we want in this structure," Boyle' mom, Jacqueline, said.

Boyle said he's finding joy in little miracles he experiences every day.

"The other night, I was getting prayed over, and I felt my finger tips, and that was insane for me," Boyle said.

The 16-year-old says coming home during a statewide shutdown was an easy adjustment. He even feels closer to his Hazel Green community in a time when everyone is far apart.

"So many people told me they prayed for the first time because of me, and all this stuff," Boyle said. "It's brought me closer to God."

With his second chance at life, he has a new goal of being a public speaker, helping others beat the odds and living a life full of freedom.

"I want to help influence people with my story and my testimony, in a good way," Boyle said.

He still has two years left of high school, and will continue doing online school until January, which he says he loves. His next surgery is May 29, when he'll have his neck scar tissue removed.

As soon as he can, he wants to go back to Vanderbilt and help other burn victims. To help Boyle with his recovery visit, click here.

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