OR teen survives brain injury, creates patient pillowcases

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by Cathy Marshall, KGW Staff

KREM.com

Posted on November 14, 2013 at 7:19 AM

OREGON CITY, Ore. -- An Oregon City teenager who came back from a brain injury is giving back in a big way.

Erin Kirby, 15, sends custom-made pillow cases to patients all over the world.

“The hospitals have gross white ones, so I just thought colored pillow cases would brighten up the room. Plus I’m just very picky about my pillows,” the soon-to-be 16-year-old said.

Her walking stick is proof she knows about long hospital stays. Two years ago a car accident left her with what was diagnosed as a minor traumatic brain injury.

“Erin would literally curl up in a fetal position and scream at the top of her lungs asking for help,” remembered her dad, David Kirby. “It was horrible.”

“At one time she was not able to spell her name or count to 10. It was a long recovery,” said her Mom, Christine.

She missed a full year of school for countless hours of therapy through the Oregon Health & Science University concussion program.

“My sewing machine was broken and I asked my friend to teach her to sew something,” Christine recalled. ”I told her to watch her closely because I didn’t think she could sew a straight line.”

They made four pillow cases and Erin has been sewing ever since. She’s sent more than 1,500 cases to kids with life-threatening illnesses.

“If it’s for a child with cancer I make sure the material is super soft because they don’t have hair,” remarked Erin.

Through a 10-question survey on her Facebook page she learns the child’s favorite color and hobbies.

It costs her about $12 to make and ship each one, and she relies on donations.

Her inspiration to keep sewing is simple.

“I love the photos I get. Whether it’s a child smiling from the joy of opening the mail or a child cuddled up and sleeping on a pillow case. It just makes me happy,” Erin said.

Facebook: Pillowcases for patients

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