DAVIE COUNTY, N.C. -- Wanda Nixon says six months after a devastating fire, her 6-year-old grandson, Wayne, is making huge strides in his recovery.
The little boy suffered severe burns all over his body from a house fire on Legion Hut Road in the Cooleemee area.
Wayne's older brother Marcus died from injuries caused by the flames.
“He’s truly missed around here,” Nixon said flipping through photos of the 8-year-old. "It’s real hard.”
Nixon says Wayne was able to leave the hospital at the end of June. Since then, she says it's been difficult for the family to eat at restaurants or go shopping.
She explained that people often stare at the 6-year-old because he has to wear a clear mask and burn suit to help heal his injuries.
“He comes home and cries sometimes. We come home and cry sometimes," Nixon said. "I wish people would think about the person that’s up under the mask and the way it makes them feel,."
Nixon said she's heard children call Wayne "scary," and adults sometimes make faces.
“To me, he’s not scary. He’s this young man right here under his mask,” Nixon said.
The grandmother said she'd prefer people ask questions as long as they are respectful.
“He has a heart. He bleeds just like you. Stop staring,” Nixon said.
Wayne is undergoing intensive physical therapy to improve his walking and mobility. He said he is looking forward to going swimming when he is fully healed.
Nixon said she's grateful to the Davie County community following the March fire.
She said fire crews helped her family move into an apartment and said Wayne has a wonderful group of friends in the neighborhood.
“He’s my little warrior," Nixon said. "He’s determined. He keeps me going. I know that.”