Giving a young man his life back one donation at a time

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Starling Martinez is a young adult from the Dominican Republic. In November 2021, he got into a terrible motorcycle accident that almost cost him his life.

Starling collided head-on with another motorcyclist while driving on the main road to the community. He suffered a broken arm, leg, skull, jaw and throat, and needed multiple surgeries to save his life. But because Starling doesn’t have a birth certificate, doctors were unable to treat him without payment upfront.

Fundraising for medical help

Having little money to begin with, Starling’s family started borrowing money from friends and family and asking for donations on the street. They then had to prioritize which surgeries to do first since they couldn’t afford to do them all at once.

Five days had passed since the accident before Starling was able to receive his first surgery. Doctors had to focus on the surgeries that would keep him alive, and many untreated injuries worsened. Starling had to have part of his foot amputated due to gangrene that developed over this waiting period.

Word about the accident reached LiveDifferent and, using funds from the Emergency Relief and Community Development fund, we were able to help with the medical costs to help Starling recover from his injuries. We provided financial support for pre-surgery tests, blood transfusions, as well as surgeries for the throat, jaw and leg. In total, Starling was hospitalized in Santiago for nearly three months.

“The foundation helped in many ways,” said Starling’s mother, Ines. “They helped me figure things out because I didn’t have the resources to get through this and, because of them, I received the help [I needed for my son].”

Starling is still facing many challenges along his road to recovery. He will need more surgery on his jaw to secure the metal plates; his flesh has been rejecting the screws supporting the rods in his legs, and he has also developed a respiratory deficiency causing shortness of breath. He’ll also need significant support through medications and at-home medical equipment.

And what’s more, we are still unsure of how Starling’s mental health will be affected by this trauma.

The road ahead

While the journey to recovery has been a trying and unstable one, we are so grateful for the improvements Starling has made over the last year. Because of generous contributions to the Emergency Relief and Community Development Fund, we were able to step in and help this family in their time of need and are hopeful we can continue to support them as Starling recovers.

But not without your help.

You can ensure Starling and others like him get the treatment they deserve by donating to LiveDifferent’s Emergency Relief and Community Development Fund today.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to everyone who has donated to this fund for helping others when they need it most.

Author: Gina Alward

Date: December 20th, 2022