Little Village family recovers from pain, heartache after devastating fire

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CHICAGO -- It was four o'clock in the morning on Friday, July 8 when Gerald Valdivia’s life was changed forever: fire broke out in the living room of his family’s Little Village apartment.

Back troubles had forced him to sleep in his son's room that night. His wife and two kids were asleep in their bedroom in the rear of the unit.

Gerald scoured the apartment  -- not seeing his family, he headed outside.

Korissa, 24, sacrificed her life to save her two small children. She was found covering 7-year-old Jerry and 2-year-old Kiara. Both children were hospitalized in critical condition..

Jerry sustained burns over 25 percent of his body, his stomach, chest, arms, head, and neck. He spent a month at Mitchell Hospital before transferring to La Rabida Children's Hospital in early August.

Two-year-old Kiara was burned on her hands, legs, neck and head.

For nearly a month, she and her brother have endured daily physical, occupational, and speech therapy, in addition to medication and burn treatments, to return life to some sort of normalcy. And on Thursday she is finally leaving the hospital.

Jerry still has several weeks to go, as the medical team works to improve his flexibility and skin elasticity.

Gerald is getting life back on track as well. He is back to work this week part time as a restaurant manager at Catch 35. A new home has been lined up, and the kids are improving every day.

But he is doing it all without his wife by his side.

If you're interested in donating to the family, click here:

Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ
615 W. Wellington Avenue
Chicago, IL. 60657

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