Follow Up


Denver boy injured in Belize horseback riding accident meets heroes who saved his life

Stefan Keryan follow up
Posted at 9:39 PM, Apr 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-12 00:24:57-04

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — It's been four months since Stefan Keryan, 9, was injured in a horseback riding accident while on vacation in Belize.

When we first told you about Stefan in December 2022, he was fighting for his life in a Belize hospital, and his family needed the community's help to get him back stateside.

After Denver7 shared his story, Geno Haggan, owner of Peak Medevac International, reached out and donated a free flight on a special medically-equipped plane.

“I can't put it into words. You know, it's such a great moment. It's almost surreal," said Stefan's mother, Heidi Keryan. "When we were in Belize, we were feeling pretty hopeless. And after the story came out — thanks to you, thanks to his teacher, Mrs. Olmos, who helped get the word out — I mean, the next day, there were wheels down in Belize, getting us out of the hospital. And then we were home that night."

On Tuesday, Stefan was able to meet Haggan and Roman Vallas, a respiratory therapist who provided medical aid to the 9-year-old during the flight home.

Stefan Keryan follow up

Vallas was also given a charity flight from Peak Medevac a few years ago when he became seriously ill due to COVID-19. He told Denver7 he was thankful for the opportunity to help someone who was in need

"Very grateful, very grateful for the company that I'm with, because I've been in that situation. So, I know how it feels," said Vallas.

Stefan is making good progress in his recovery but is still under some restrictions, according to his mother.

"He can't do P.E. He can't be climbing trees or anything like that. But he's learning. He loves school, he loves math," said Heidi. "Most of his body is back where it needs to be, and we're gonna get the rest of it where it needs to be too. We're gonna get him back to where he was before."

Heidi said she appreciates all of the support her family has received from people all over the country.

"All these strangers that sent cards to the hospital wishing Stefan well, you know, messaging us, checking in seeing if they could do anything. It's incredible," she said.

Haggan is continuing his mission to provide free charity flights to those in need through a national campaign, which is set to start next month.

"We're dedicating 72 charity trips a year right now, starting in May. And we're giving them to local communities and to nation organizations like Ronald McDonald, Wounded Warrior, Shriner's Groups, children's hospitals," he said. "A lot of that was from seeing Heidi on TV and her pleading how much help she needed. If I can help people out like that, I really want to."

Haggan added that he was grateful for the opportunity to help the family in their time of need.

"I'm so glad to see he's doing better," he said.

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