Local News

Haiti burn victim shares his story of recovery

Posted June 20, 2010 7:18 p.m. EDT
Updated June 21, 2010 4:24 p.m. EDT

— A survivor of the January earthquake that devastated Haiti visited a Raleigh church Sunday to talk about his recovery from severe burns.

Eric Louis, a construction worker, was next to a gas station that exploded when the 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit on Jan. 12. A third of his body had second- and third-degree burns, particularly his head, hands, back and toes.

Louis arrived at the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill two weeks after the earthquake. He underwent six major surgeries, including four skin grafts.

Earlier this month, Louis was released from the hospital. He spoke Sunday to members of the Solid Rock First Haitian Tabernacle of Grace in Raleigh about his fight for survival. 

"People were not expecting this guy to be alive," Pastor Rev. Erilus St. Sauveur said.

His story was inspirational to church members, many of whom lost relatives and friends when the quake hit.

“People who went to visit him have been inspired by him,” church member Paulette Beholo said.

Louis said he too was inspired seeing Haitian-Americans join together for a day of prayer. Members of the church said they hope his visit serves as a reminder of what Haitians are going through.

“It's still really painful for people now,” said Sauveur, whose brother-in-law, nephew and his 12-year-old adopted son were killed by the earthquake.

"I want people not to forget about the people because they are still suffering," Beholo said.

Doctors said that Louis still has much rehabilitation and therapy ahead of him. He is living in Chapel Hill at a facility for critical care patients.

Church members said they hope to help Louis establish a home in Raleigh soon.