A boy named Paquito, who lives near the village of Paredón in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas suffers from a rare skin condition that causes painful sores to develop on his skin. A church in Black Creek is raising funds for his family.

Helping Paquito: How an Island church improved life for a sick Mexican boy

Black Creek congregation bankrolls bedroom renovation for boy with rare skin disease in Chiapas

It was a wide-ranging disaster-relief mission that quickly became personal for a group of Vancouver Islanders.

Members of a church near Campbell River are asking for donations to support victims of an earthquake that hit southern Mexico last year, including a boy with a rare skin condition.

Members of the Living Waters Fellowship Church first met Paquito in March, when they travelled to the southern state of Chiapas. The group was helping a Chiapas-based church with relief efforts following an 8.2-magnitude earthquake that hit the region in Sept. 2017.

“We teamed up with them,” said Doug Wynd, a member of the Living Waters congregation, which is based in Black Creek. “We went around handing out food hampers, praying with people.”

During the trip, a local pastor introduced them to a family in a poverty-stricken area ravaged by the earthquake, between the city of Tonalá and the coastal village of Paredón, Wynd said.

An 8.1-magnitude earthquake hit southern Mexico in Sept. 2017. A church in Black Creek is raising funds for relief in the area, including for a family living near the city of Tonalá, shown here. Image from Google Maps

“It definitely wasn’t a tourist area,” he said. “Nobody has any money to be able to repair their houses.”

READ MORE: Tired and angry, migrant caravan splinters in Mexican state

The boy’s parents explained that he suffered from a condition known as epidermolysis bullosa, Wynd said. The disease, which results in painful blistering of skin and mucous membranes, had already killed his brother.

Children infected by the disease are sometimes called “butterfly children,” a reference to the fragility of their skin.

“Heat, cold, if somebody touches him, he’ll break out in sores,” said Wynd. “They’re all itchy, and there were bloodied sores on him.”

The Black Creek group decided to buy him a new bed and bedding, because springs were sticking out of his mattress and his bed was stained with blood, Wynd said. The group also purchased badly-needed medicine and meal-replacement drinks for the boy, he said.

READ MORE: Migrants, police mass in town on Guatemala-Mexico border

But another major problem was his earthquake-damaged home. Paquito was living in a shanty made from salvaged materials, and the heat inside was sweltering, Wynd said.

“It was cooking hot,” he said. “It was in the 30s and he’s in a tin shed.”

When the group returned to Canada, they appealed to the Black Creek congregation for donations and financed a complete renovation of his room.

“We had $2,000 within a week,” Wynd said. “And that was like double the money that we needed to fix his room.”

This allowed for the installation of an air conditioner that wouldn’t lose its cooling power through the shanty walls.

“Now he’s got a tiled room, his room’s insulated, there’s a door, the air conditioner’s all fitted in properly, he’s got a nice bed [and] apparently his skin is getting better,” he said.

The family is still struggling, but the boy’s condition has reportedly improved and his spirits were higher, Wynd said.

The church is continuing to raise funds for Paquito’s family and relief work in the impoverished state in the wake of the devastating earthquake.

Readers can donate to the effort online: www.gofundme.com/help-young-paquito-and-his-family.

The earthquake took place off Mexico’s southern coast on Sept. 8 last year, killing nearly 100 people and injuring hundreds more. In Chiapas, Mexico’s poorest state, thousands of buildings were damaged.

 

Members of Living Waters Fellowship Church in Black Creek are supporting Paquito, a boy with a rare skin condition, as part of their relief work in southern Mexico. He’s shown here on a bed purchased by the Black Creek group, according to Dave Southern, a member of the church. In this picture he appears to be recovering.

Just Posted

Vancouver Island man living well despite dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

Royal BC Museum’s Woolly the Mammoth turns 40 years old

The museum is hosting a party on Jan. 26

Future space homes could be made of mushrooms

NASA explores use of fungi to build structures in space

Editorial: Have your say on changes to assisted dying law

In June of 2016 Canadians gained the right to physician assisted death — but there were caveats.

Fraser River land-claim case moves to Duncan for two weeks

Cowichan Tribe elders to be interviewed in case involving Tribes’ rights to land in Richmond

Women take centre stage at NHL all-star skills competition

Canada beat the United States 2-1 in a spirited 3-on-3 game between female players Friday night

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Two women struck by vehicle at Nanaimo intersection

One woman taken to hospital with possible broken bones

PHOTOS: New BC Ferries hybrid vessels arrive in Victoria’s Inner Harbour

The ferries will run two gulf island routes in upcoming months

Shawnigan group challenging assessments, claiming soil dumps have lowered values

Neighbours raise water quality, property value issues

Most Read