Jamie Nieto: Tissue Donation Recipient

Written on March 30, 2021

Burn Treatment
Inspirational Stories
Survivor Stories
Testimonials / Impact Stories

On his 20th birthday, Jamie came home early from his job at a local golf course in Illinois. He decided to light a fire outside to keep warm while doing yard work. He used a different accelerant than normal, and the can exploded in his hands. This resulted in third-degree burns over half of his body. Jamie was rushed to the Loyola University Medical Center where he was put into a medically induced coma and underwent many surgeries, including several skin grafts.

Before I was a tissue recipient, I wasn’t a donor. When people think of donation, they think of the organs, not realizing that tissue and skin are just as important in saving and enhancing lives. Donation can be a life-saving gift.

Jamie Nieto

Shortly after beginning an extensive rehabilitation program, Jamie was told he would never golf again. But Jamie was determined to get back on the green. A visit from a fellow burn survivor ensured that he would. Jamie was introduced to Tony Gonzalez through Phoenix SOAR (Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery), and they instantly connected over their passion for golf.

When Tony came in and mentioned that he played golf, I looked at his hands and saw that he had fewer fingers than I had. I kind of thought, ‘Well if Tony can play golf then I can figure out a way to do this.'

Jamie Nieto

Jamie went on to turn his love of golf into both a frequent hobby and passionate career. Today, Jamie is a PGA professional and head pro at a golf course in Illinois. He’s also an avid Phoenix SOAR Peer Supporter, burn community ally, and tissue donation advocate. Jamie and Tony’s friendship has grown over the years, as well, and the pair created a golf outing to raise funds for Phoenix World Burn Congress (WBC) attendees.