MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – In November 2019, James Boyle and Natalie Skye were burned in an explosion during a bonfire. James spent over four months in the Vanderbilt Burn Center with burns on 85 percent of his body.
Due to medical costs, his family hosted a fundraising event. Jeremy Caquelin, James’ brother-in-law organized a fishing tournament Saturday.
“It’s a tight-knit community, so I knew that if I did this event there would be tons of support,” Caquelin said.
People showed up to the event bright and early Saturday morning. By 6:30 a.m., there were more than five boats out on the water. Those who participated paid a $20 fee. The top three fishers took home monetary earnings and the rest went towards James and Natalie’s medical bills.
The Boyle family has kept their faith during this time. Family members donned shirts that said ‘#godsgotthis’. James’ younger sister Makenna wore a shirt that said, ‘God is fighting for us.’ She said she’s learned so much from her brother already.
“Even when something bad is happening, as long as you have faith you’re good,” she said.
Because of COVID-19 James hasn’t been able to receive treatment as often as possible. His father John said, “He’s going to be months behind in that recovery, if not a year behind.”
The Boyle family knows there’s still a long way to go, but James has made the journey easier. All his family said the same thing: his unwavering faith and sense of humor have made this process easier.
“My mom and dad of course have been there since the very beginning. Jeremy is my brother-in-law and has been really doing everything he can to kind of help me and make sure I’m not feeling left out. My nephew right here is always talking to me. My older sister and my younger sister help a lot. Everybody is trying to make sure I’m comfortable and taken care of,” James said.
According to organizers, about 25-30 anglers participated in the tournament, and about a dozen donated directly to the families.
If you would like to help, donate through PayPal to email@example.com. A GoFundMe campaign was also set up for James.