Healing Hands Ministries

Maria Albertina Quijada


Maria Quijada

It was a cold night in El Salvador in 1962 as a four-year-old Maria Quijada worked to build a small fire. She turned her back to the fire to warm herself without realizing she was stepping too close.

“Before I knew it, my hair and back were on fire,” said Maria, who is now 57 years old.

Maria was rushed to a hospital in El Salvador where she was given a bleak prognosis.

“They told me I was dying,” Maria said. “They gave me blood transfusions, and I stayed in the hospital for six years.”

Several decades and one move-across-the-Gulf later, Maria heard about Healing Hands Ministries from her friend, Lisa, who accompanied her to her first appointment so she could help complete the paper work.

Her first appointment was routine and included both a diabetes and cholesterol check-up. She did not realize that this simple doctor’s visit would change her life.

“Maria came here for debriding, and we referred her to Parkland Memorial Hospital,” recalls Teresa Carillo, Healing Hands’ lead medical assistant.

At Parkland, Maria was diagnosed with cancer in her back because of the burn she suffered when she was four. Maria was hospitalized there from December 2014 to February 2015.

“I received no treatment [for my burn] for 15 years until I came here,” Maria said.

Because of the affordable medical care and referral services of Healing Hands, Maria receives treatment for her burn, diabetes, cholesterol and cancer, and even enjoys doing so.

“I like coming here because everyone is so nice. Everybody makes me laugh even though I’m sick,” Maria said with a chuckle and a twinkle in her eye.

Maria believes the positive effect Healing Hands has had on her life is more than skin-deep.

“Healing Hands changed my life,” she said.  “I want to live longer now because I feel so much better.  I have more faith now.  It was a miracle I was able to come here.”

Maria smiled into the distance as she explained, “I want people to know that I had no other way out. Healing Hands Ministries has helped me to heal.”