Dayvion Escalante, 9, plays Fortnite at home Nov. 19 in Everett. Dayvion was seven when he was severely burned on his leg and foot while drinking hot apple cider. He required a two-month stay in the hospital. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Dayvion Escalante, 9, plays Fortnite at home Nov. 19 in Everett. Dayvion was seven when he was severely burned on his leg and foot while drinking hot apple cider. He required a two-month stay in the hospital. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

A hot cup of apple cider led to severe burns for Everett boy

Mom credits help from Burned Children Recovery Foundation with help in her family’s time of need.

EVERETT — Life changed over a cup of hot apple cider.

In September 2018, Dayvion Escalante, then 7, took a drink of cider, unknowingly overheated by his mom in the microwave. The hot liquid burned his mouth and jolted him to drop it in his lap, spilling to his feet.

His mother, Keileanna, rushed him to the emergency room hospital at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett for what she thought was a minor burn.

“I thought they would bandage him up and be done,” she said.

It was just the beginning.

Dayvion was transported by ambulance to Harborview Medical Center where he spent over two months. He said it seemed like he was in the hospital for about a year.

His mom, a single parent who was four months pregnant at the time, juggled being with him and his sister, two years older.

The burn and wound care was extensive and painful for Dayvion. It hurt to move. Steam from his food tray spooked him.

“I’m brave,” Dayvion said. “I just went through it.”

At times he wanted to give up.

That was two years ago. Today, the Hawthorne Elementary School third grader rides his bike and plays ball, but it has been a long ordeal. And it still isn’t over. There are scars inside and out. He was burned in his inner thighs and buttocks.

“He goes through PTSD,” his mom said. “He doesn’t like anything hot to this day. He’s confident talking about it now.”

At first he wouldn’t.

“When they ask me I just tell them,” he said.

“He still asks, ‘Is my scar ever going to heal?” his mom said. “He still trembles. He gets bruises that bubble up.”

She credits the Burned Children Recovery Foundation with making it easier from the get-go.

”They helped with gas and food and physical therapy,” she said. “Other parents got a GoFundMe and stuff but I didn’t really want that attention.”

Burned Children Recovery Foundation founder Michael Mathis and his wife, Kathleen, at Camp Phoenix in Bellingham. (Submitted photo)

Burned Children Recovery Foundation founder Michael Mathis and his wife, Kathleen, at Camp Phoenix in Bellingham. (Submitted photo)

She said it helped for Dayvion to meet Michael Mathis, who started the Everett-based foundation 31 years ago.

“When they met it was a big thing for Dayvion. He saw, ‘Look at this guy, look what he went through,’” she said.

Mathis, 66, was 11 and an all-star baseball player when a friend poured gasoline on a fire that exploded in his face. He spent over three months at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

“My parents broke up because of this injury,” Mathis said.

He had a difficult time readjusting to school.

“I came home every day upset, crying. I was being bullied stared and laughed at,” he said. “I played sports, that’s what drove me back. The negative wasn’t enough to keep me from doing it.”

Mathis encourages children to pursue a passion.

“I had things in my life I wanted to go back to,” he said.

Mathis had more than 60 surgeries. He graduated from Meadowdale High School, served in the Air Force and worked at Boeing.

People still point and stare at him.

“They’re not doing this on purpose. It’s a reaction. They’re not prepared for what they are seeing and are processing what their eyes are seeing,” he said.

It’s something he talks to children about.

“People do not know how to react when they see a child without a nose or ears or missing fingers,” he said. “They can’t take away reaction. They have to go out and learn to accept it and deal with life. We all perceive our lives through the mirror.”

He and his wife, Kathleen, run the foundation from their Everett home. It helps with counseling and financial aid to families with transportation, activities and bills.

“We’re not just here to help the children,” Mathis said. “The families are struggling, too.”

He sponsors Camp Phoenix for about 60 children nationwide. “We target the worst burned kids,” he said.

The weeklong camp, held in Bellingham, was canceled this year due to COVID-19. Many fundraisers, such as firefighter pancake breakfasts and gala auctions, also couldn’t happen. There were no parades to show off the foundation’s 1971 fire truck.

“We generally have 55 fundraisers throughout the year. Because of COVID we only had three,” Mathis said.

Camp Phoenix, held in Bellingham for children recovering from burns, is sponsored by the Burned Children Recovery Foundation. (Submitted photo)

Camp Phoenix, held in Bellingham for children recovering from burns, is sponsored by the Burned Children Recovery Foundation. (Submitted photo)

Instead of giving $500 gift cards to 10 families this year, there will be only enough funds for five. Dayvion’s family received a gift card last year.

The foundation helped Dayvion’s mom get tires for her car and cover the fee for him to play sports. Not only that, he went to Camp Phoenix in 2019 where he met with other children disfigured by burns. His older sister got to go along, too.

“He made friends his age. They fly people in from all around the United States,” his mom said. “When he gets older he can come back and be a counselor and tell his story and keep that connection. Maybe find a girlfriend and get married.”

Not so fast. He’s only 9.

The foundation provides emotional support for her family

“It’s a community of people you can relate with,” she said. “My neighbors don’t understand and my family didn’t know what to do to handle it.”

She got him into counseling. She went, too.

“For a long time I blamed myself,” she said.

Burns are often associated with flames, not hot food.

Mathis said liquid burns are the most common for children, from hot coffee, cups of soup, spilled pans and even bath water.

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

How to help

Burned Children Recovery Foundation, 409 Wood Place, Everett, WA 98203

800-799-2876

bcrfdirector@gmail.com

www.burnedchildrenrecovery.org

Talk to us

More in Local News

The town post office in Index, Washington on Wedesday, Nov. 29, 2023.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Index, smallest town in Snohomish County, is No. 1 in voter turnout

Index has beaten the Snohomish County ballot return rate in each of the last 10 years. Snohomish County leaders have a few theories as to why.

Founder and Executive Director Pa Ousman Joof, alongside Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell, right, prepares to cut the ribbon during the grand opening of the Washington West African Center on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Born out of struggle, West African Center flourishes in Lynnwood

African music filled the room Saturday at 19203 36th Ave. West, for the grand opening of the nonprofit’s new state headquarters.

An STI clinic opened Friday, Dec. 1, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Free STI clinic opens in Everett after 14-year hiatus — and as rates spike

The county-run facility will provide treatment and resources for prevention of sexually transmitted infections.

Graffiti covers the eastern side of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County Cascade Unit on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Again, Boys and Girls Club tagged with suspected gang signs in Everett

Residents on Cascade Drive say their neighborhood has been the scene of excessive graffiti and sometimes gunfire in the past year.

A suspected gas explosion on Wednesday destroyed a house in the 19700 block of 25TH DR SE in Bothell, Washington. (Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue)
After a newly bought Bothell house exploded, experts urge caution

The owners had closed on their purchase of the house just two days earlier. No one was hurt in the explosion.

A sign in front of the AquaSox front office references the upcoming Everett City Council vote on a sum of $1.1 million to give to outside contractors to help upgrade a new stadium on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett AquaSox stadium upgrade gets $1.1M green light from city

City officials want to keep the team in Everett. But will they play in a new stadium downtown in 2027? Or an updated Funko Field?

Joseph David Emerson, left, 44, was arraigned in Multnomah County Circuit Court on Tues., Oct. 24, 2023, in Portland, Ore. Emerson, a pilot, is accused of attempting to disable the engines of a plane on which he was riding while off-duty last Sunday. Emerson pleaded not guilty Tuesday. (Dave Killen/The Oregonian via AP, Pool)
Pilot indicted over Everett in-flight sabotage incident, but not for attempted murder

Joseph David Emerson on Tuesday was indicted on a charge of endangering an aircraft and 83 counts of recklessly endangering another person.

Brenda Stonecipher, left, and Mary Fosse
Everett council president pitches ban on serving in 2 elected offices

Departing City Council member Brenda Stonecipher’s ordinance would only apply to one current member, Mary Fosse, who feels “targeted.”

Gov. Jay Inslee chats with attendees during a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Evergreen Manor Family Services Center on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Gov. Inslee to seek $50M more toward opioid education, treatment

Inslee announced the plan Monday before meeting with treatment providers, advocates and others in Everett.

Logo for news use, for stories regarding Washington state government — Olympia, the Legislature and state agencies. No caption necessary. 20220331
Washington lawmakers begin to drop bills ahead of upcoming session

Legislation so far covers areas like insulin pricing, unemployment benefits for striking workers, and impounding vehicles for people who drive without insurance.

Herald photographers Olivia Vanni and Ryan Berry traveled around Snohmoish County amid near-record flooding Tuesday to capture the scene.
GALLERY: Record flooding in Snohomish County

Herald photographers captured the scene Tuesday across Arlington, Sultan and Monroe.

Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. (Olivia Vanni/The Herald)
Providence Swedish tightens COVID, mask policy

Citing a rise in respiratory illness, local hospitals and clinics will require masks for care.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.