HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- During the long, lonely days of lockdown Milagros Cavet finds an escape at her fingertips.
“I spend a lot of hours on my pictures usually. It is really fun. I like to draw alone usually because I have no distractions,” Milagros said. “I’m so into my drawing I don’t know what time it is. I start at two and then it's 9 and I’m like, ‘Woah. What happened?'"
The 13-year-old artist discovered her gift when she was three.
When she is not earning As at Quioccasin Middle School in Henrico, the seventh grader excels at landscapes and portraits.
“I mainly like to use colored pencils,” Milagros said.
Drawing is more than a hobby. It’s helping Milagros heal.
“I don’t think of my disability too often. I just go with it,” she said.
One month shy of her first birthday the native of Honduras was pulled from a house fire. She lost her right arm and ear and suffered burns to more than fifty percent of her body.
“I just learned to live with it. If I’m going to have one hand I might as well make the most of it so. That is what I did,” Milagros said.
Milagros was flown to Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston where the staff saved her life.
“I have a lot of burns,” she said. “It doesn’t hurt at all. The only thing that hurts is the surgeries.”
Terry Cavet fostered Milagros during her recovery. Eventually, she and her husband Jim became Milagros’ legal guardians.
“She was unable to stand on two feet. Both feet are burned,” Terry said. “She had a hole in her skull where she was burned. She had one patch of hair. I counted all of her surgeries and procedures under anesthesia. And she has had more than 100 surgeries and procedures.”
Mrs. Cavet knew from the beginning Milagros was determined to live. But others are taking notice of her talent.
Shriners in Boston requested Milagros design the hospital’s 2020 holiday card.
“I made a snow angel because they let me decide what I wanted to draw,” Milagros said. “I want to do my best work on it because it is going out to a lot of people because they’re going to see this.”
Associate Principal Paul Jordan said their resident artist makes the entire school body beam.
“The thing that is so nice is that she is so humble about it,” he said. “It is something her parents can be proud of and us at Quiocosin are super proud of her as well.”
“I’ve never done a holiday card, I don’t think, which was pretty awesome because a lot of people go to Shriner’s Hospital,” Milagros said.
Donating an original print is an unexpected honor.
“It is her way of saying ‘thank you’ for everything you’ve ever done for me,” Terry said.
“I think it is very special, honestly. They get your surgeries. They pay for stuff,” Milagros said. “I think they’re very special honestly.”
Milagros Cavet considers her artwork a small gift for the nurses and doctors who gave this angel a chance to fly while coloring her canvas of life.
“It means a lot to me,” Milagros said. “I feel really lucky that I’m alive that they could cure all of the things I had problems with because they’ve done a lot for me.”
Milagros artwork will be featured on more than just holiday cards. Shriners in Boston is also requesting that she create original artwork for the hospital’s waiting area.