A schoolboy who “miraculously” survived 80% burns to his body is on a quest to get his sight back.
Zaid Garcia, 16, was left with severe burns after a candle caught fire to his home and engulfed his blankets as he slept.
After “too many operations to remember”, including amputations to both his hands and five toes, the teenager now wants to prove “miracles can happen” after learning to walk and talk.
His eyes were so severely burned, in the incident which happened when he was a toddler, that surgeons covered them in skin to recover.
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Now fourteen years after the fire, Zaid is hoping to get his sight back – just so he can see his best friend Julia’s “beauty”.
Zaid, from Galveston, in Texas, US, said: "I'm sharing my story to inspire people and show them that miracles do exist.
"I was super injured. I've had so many operations now that I can't even remember. I'll probably have more skin grafts [in the future].
"So my next hope is to get my vision back. I've been blind since the accident. If I was to have this surgery it would be the first time I'd see the world properly [since before the fire].
“To be able to see my family again after 14 years will be good. I think it'll be cool. The first thing I want to see would be one of my friends. My best friend from school, Julia. I'd like to see her beauty, I guess."
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Fundraising for the surgery, a GoFundMe page was set up by non-profit organisation Special Books for Special Kids, raising more than $292,000 [£225,935] so far.
Zaid hopes to “be accepted” but his already vulnerable self-esteem was further damaged when Facebook covered pictures and videos of his face with a “graphic image warning”.
The move prompted a petition to be launched for an apology from the social media platform – who have now apologised for “the pain caused”.
After the fire, Zaid was flown to his former home in Mexico to a hospital in Texas, where he received the treatment for fourth degree burns, which saved his life.
When Zaid was released from hospital, his family settled in Texas, where he currently attends a school for the blind.
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Doctors predicted he would never talk or walk, but nowadays he is considered a medical marvel as he tackles his challenges head on.
He said: "It was hard growing up to be honest. People are scared of me because of the way I look and when I was young, I tried to commit suicide.
"My mum told me that was not the right thing. I was finding it hard to fit in at school and make friends. I work hard to improve each day. I just want to be accepted.”
Zaid remains hopeful for the future and plans to become a translator and motivational speaker one day.
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He added: "I hope people will realise that you shouldn't give up just because they tell you you're not going to make it. I want to encourage people.
"The doctors said I was going to die. There was no hope for me. They predicted that I would not be able to talk, but I'm a miracle because of that. I can say thank you in nine languages.
"My parents say to me 'be good' when I go to school. They are very supportive and encourage me to carry on as if nothing happened."
A spokesperson for the social media platform said: "We want Facebook to be a place where people can share their stories.
"While we sometimes apply a warning label to images of graphic injuries based on indications such as reports from users, we don't always get it right as context is important as well.
"After a closer review, the warning label has been removed and we apologise for the pain that this has caused."
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