Brain injury survivors across Minnesota design masks to tell their stories

What started as a simple outreach project by the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance has now produced more than 1,000 masks from brain injury survivors in every corner of the state.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect it would get to this,” Brad Donaldson of the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance said.

The masks are all examples of traumatic brain injuries, the brush strokes of life told on blank face masks.

“A brain injury is so unique and so individualized that’s it very hard to put a mold around it, i.e. the mask,” Donaldson said. “All the different variations of the mask, how the white mask can mean so many different things to so many different people. Brain injury is the same thing.”

It was a farm accident that injured little Amber Rose’s brain. She was in the hospital for over a month.

Her mask is decorated with rainbows, while her mom’s is painted with faith.

“So, what I’ve put my sights on are just the miracles of this Earth -- sunsets and that little bird that lands next to you and makes you happy,” Jen Kordiak, Amber Rose’s mother, said. “I just love birds.”

Other masks are reflective.

“For me, I put blessed and cursed on there because before I always used to feel that I was cursed,” said Eric Norcutt, another brain injury survivor.”

But, all of the masks are powerful, and expressive.

“It’s a long haul, but know that there are positives down the road and these are all character builders for everybody in this room,” said Tracey Worley, the mother of brain injury survivor.

You can see the masks on Saturday, April 1 from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Park as part of the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance's "Unmasking Brain Injury in Minnesota" event. 

More details can be found at

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