1:10 P.M. — In Haiti, Jimmy Guerrier walked barefoot in the dust.
Grime and sand would stick to the torn skin just above his ankles, where on each leg, two open wounds remained untreated for nearly a year.
On Oct. 16, the boy arrived in the United States carrying only a small backpack.
For the next several months, doctors at Lehigh Regional Medical Center will treat his sores. The wounds are caused by sickle cell anemia, a genetic disorder that blocks flow in blood vessels. The hospital will cover the tens of thousands of dollars it will cost in treatment.
Left at the doorstep of New Life Children's Home, an orphanage/rescue center in Port-au-Prince, when he was about 3, Jimmy's true age isn't clear.
Tall, lanky, and a bit shy, he says he's 13.
Life with his illness until now has been one of pain and fatigue, and a constant healing and reopening of the same wounds. He shakes his head when someone calls him strong, but his French last name translates to "warrior" in English.
A painful process
At Jimmy's first appointment in the hospital's wound care institute on Tuesday, a nurse pulsed water into the larger wound on his left leg.
"Coucher," said Dr. Stephen Schroering, which means lay down in French.
With a little topical anesthetic, the pressure still stung; Jimmy grimaced.
His face changed as a nurse put a syringe on the hospital bed. He tried to squirm away, gripping a toy dog.
It took two people on each arm to hold down the boy for Schroering to take a biopsy from each wound. The results of those tests and others will tell doctors what treatment needs to come next.
Yolanda Halliday, 43, of Lehigh Acres, is housing the boy during his treatment. She held her hand over his heart as the biopsy was taken; it throbbed hard against his rib cage.
"I agreed to take him in because I know what it's like to be sick," Halliday said. "I've had two heart surgeries. I do what I can."
Circulation is one of the biggest health concerns for the boy. If the bones have been infected, amputating Jimmy's legs might be the only way to save his life.
"Bon, Jimmy, bon," Schroering tells the boy. "You're strong. You know me."
'The door is open'
Since 2008, Schroering has volunteered with World Harvest Missions, based in Lake Worth, to get the children at the orphanage the medical care they need.
Healthy red blood cells are round, and they move through small blood vessels to carry oxygen to all parts of the body. In SCD, the red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a "sickle."
The sickle cells die early, which causes a constant shortage of red blood cells.
Also, when they travel through small blood vessels, they get stuck and clog the blood flow. This can cause pain and other problems.
During the earthquake that devastated the nation earlier this year, Schroering was there for weeks.
"The door is open," he said. "Pre-earthquake it was not, and it took months to a year before we could get a child out. But now, there are just so many sick children and so few facilities."
There are about 130 children at the five-acre orphanage/rescue center where Jimmy came from. The center, which opened in 1977, has served as a refuge for hundreds of children malnourished or dying from disease.
Some are brought to the center from an area in the southwestern mountains near a region called Les Cayes. It takes about eight hours of travel by land and another eight hours by boat to reach it. More than once, while boating back with a sick infant, the child dies at sea, he said.
"I cannot look at the hopelessness in these children's eyes and say, 'I'll never be back to help you,'" Schroering said. "They have no voice, no one to hear their cries. It's a privilege."
In a new world
Thursday night at Upper Room House of Prayer Pentecostal Church on Joel Boulevard, Jimmy looked lost.
Sporting a pair of slacks and an orange polo shirt, he tried to sing along with the words he knows.
In the six days he's been in Florida, he's tasted Skittles and eaten homemade tacos. He's watched cartoons and played video games with Halliday's 10-year-old son, Jeremiah.
His legs are wrapped up like a soccer player's shin guards. He speaks a little English, a little French, but mostly Creole.
Yolanda Halliday and her family asked what he'd be doing if he were back in Haiti. Jimmy responded he'd be outside, with his friends.
"He always knows what time it is in Haiti," Halliday said.
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