ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - The Regions Hospital Burn Center received a large donation Tuesday from a burn victim who wants to help kids get through their treatment and life.
The donation came in the form of comfort bags, each designed with individually embroidered messages of hope.
Kenny Pecarina, who suffered severe burns 17 years ago, said he wanted to bring the patients something to do in their free time “so they're not thinking about what happened as much."
When Pecarina was just 18 months old, a flash fire burned a third of his body.
"I was burned on my hands on my shoulders, on my back and on my head," he said.
Pecarina received a lot of support over the years with his recovery and now he wants to give back through his Eagle Scout project.
He provided 145 bags to the patients as a way of telling them they’re not alone.
"This one is ‘reach for the stars. I am fearless. I am strong. Don't let anyone dull your sparkle,’" a patient reads from one of the bags.
Burn surgeon Dr. Bill Mohr said that just like any other gift, “a gift from someone who has that bond whether it’s family, or in this sense the burn family, is a very powerful tool."
“They can make all the difference to these kids who are in the hospital for days or weeks, and they just think they can't see past where they're at in that moment,” said Mikki Rothbauer, burn and trauma psychotherapist. “But, Kenny is showing them through these bags and through his letter that it's going to be ok."
"I'm happy to know that I'm giving them to a good cause, and I know I'm giving them to kids that will be better off with them than me,” Pecarina said.