MISSOURI CITY, Texas — Troy Lard is now the legal guardian of his four-year-old grandson Markyus 'Ky' Lard.
The day before Christmas Eve a fire started in the unit below Ky and his mom, Marissa Lard’s, apartment in Iowa. That fire took his mother’s life and left Ky fighting to survive.
"He lost everything. He has nothing, so we have to rebuild that,” Troy said. "I'm the closest thing he knows. So he kind of grabs on to me, but he's processing it,” he added.
Ky suffered second and third-degree burns to 25% of his body.
When he was first admitted to the hospital he was listed as critical. Now, Troy said Ky’s doing better.
Ky is being treated for his injuries in Galveston at Shriners Hospital for Children where he's relearning how to walk.
"Initially, he was yelling and screaming nearly all day in pain. Excruciating pain,” Troy said.
Since the incident, Troy said he’s had to take care of his daughter’s funeral arrangements, take care of his grandson and work to get legal guardianship.
"Honestly, I have not even started to grieve my daughter's death,” Troy said.
With no time to process it all, he said he had to explain to Ky his mom is no longer here.
"He was like, ‘I miss my mom and, um, now where is she?’ Then I just kind of explained to him, I asked him if he remembered the fire, and he did. He said, ‘Did her die?’ Yeah. She died. Yeah. She was very brave. There was a lot of smoke and she didn't make it,” Troy said.
To save her son, Troy said, his daughter lost her life.
"She literally died protecting him,” Troy said.
A new life is beginning for Ky without his mom. He’ll live with his grandfather and his family in Missouri City.
Ky is expected to be released from the hospital over the weekend. After that, he'll have a long road to recovery.
Troy is asking the community for support. Ky’s Medicaid didn’t cover his $23,000 flight to the hospital. Fortunately, he said a donor paid that off, but the medical bills keep racking up. A GoFundMe was created to help with the rising costs.