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Calallen teen credits IHOP’s Free Pancake Day with saving his life

Every year IHOP restaurants across the country host Free Pancake Day and the money raised goes to helping children with orthopedic conditions and severe burns.

In 2017, the afternoon before Mother’s Day, life changed for 16-year-old Kaden Bradley.  The Calallen teen suffered severe burns to almost his entire body from a propane tank explosion.

“I releasing a propane tank, letting out the gas and so when I went to shut the valve the static caught it and it blew up,” said Bradley.

Bradley suffered third and fourth degree burns to almost 80 percent of his body.  That night he was flown to San Antonio, then finally to Galveston. He headed to Shriners Hospital for Children; a place known for being one of the premier burn care hospitals for children.

“They estimated that I’d be there for six months for ICU and six months in recovery,” said Bradley.

Bradley did recover with the help of doctor’s, nurses and hundreds of other medical staff at Shriners Hospital for Children.  And these days he’s also expressing his gratitude for IHOP’s National Pancake Day.  He says it does so much more than feed a sweet tooth;  it saved his life.

“All they do is try to help these children in need and these families that go to these hospitals never see a bill,” said Bradley.

Every year, IHOP restaurants host Pancake Day.  Customers get a free stack of pancakes and the restaurants hope for a small donation to the Shriners Hospital.  All of the proceeds go straight to funding a hospital that relies on only endowments and donations.

“We also have an 800 million dollar budget a year,” said John Dunn, one of the board of Governors for Shriners.

Shriners Hospital was founded in 1922, and has treated over 1.2 million children in orthopedics and burn care

“Every little bit helps,” said Dunn.

Bradley’s mom says she recently added up the expenses of his accident, and between surgeries, care and recovery costs she totaled over a million dollars. She says it’s an amount she would not be able to afford without donations from places like IHOP to Shriners.

“They will have my admiration forever because it is a truly unique place and I’ve been a nurse for 10 years and I’ve never experienced another hospital like that,” said Keagan Bradley.

Today the Bradley family travels about every 3 months for follow up surgeries, and Kaden’s family credits local donations for saving his life.

“The opportunities to give back can sometimes seem overwhelming but when it comes down to doing something as simple as taking your family out for pancakes I don’t think people understand that even that small act does amazing things; for children like my son and thousands of other kids around the country,” said Bradley.

Today, because of the cutting-edge clinical care, research and education at Shriners, patients with burns on over 90 percent of their body can survive and go on to lead full, productive lives. If you’d like to help, Free Pancake Day will be held March 12th.

Brenda Matute

Brenda Matute

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