Given a 20 percent chance to survive after being burned in a house fire when he was just 4 years old, Taquarius Wair defeated the odds.
This week, he was rewarded for his remarkable recovery.
Wair, whose nickname is TQ, survived third-degree burns to more than half of his body, lost three fingers on his left hand and tragically lost his 6-year-old sister in the March 22, 2005 house fire in Minneapolis.
Now a freshman running back at Mesabi Range Community College in Virginia, Minnesota, Wair will receive a scholarship this weekend from Firefighters for Healing, a nonprofit based in Champlin that supports child burn victims and their families, along with the firefighters who are instrumental in life-saving efforts.
Wair will receive the scholarship during Saturday night at the nonprofit's Red Tie Gala, held at The Depot in Minneapolis.
"Even though he endured multiple surgeries and skin grafting procedures, he maintained a positive attitude and never let scars define him," the nonprofit says of Wair. "When he was old enough, he started playing football. In high school, his coach saw his positivity, unwavering commitment and leadership qualities."
The gala will include the unveiling of the latest plans to build transitional housing near Hennepin Healthcare's burn unit that will will support burn and trauma survivors, firefighters and their families.
In August, the Minnesota Vikings honored Wair during a preseason game as that night's Hometown Hero, bringing Wair and his family onto the field to be recognized by the fans inside U.S. Bank Stadium.
The former Minneapolis North standout football player was also recognized at a national level in August, as ESPN told his story in a 7-minute segment of SC Featured.
Wair's mother told Vikings.com that her son "fought, and he's still fighting."
"He's never going to give up," she added.
Firefighters for Healing was created in 2010 by Jake LaFerriere, who suffered third- and- fourth-degree burns from a backdraft explosion while working as a Minneapolis firefighter.