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Burn survivor makes special donation to Regions Burn Center

17-year-old credits Regions support system for helping him try new things

At 18-months-old Kenny Pecarina, of Buffalo, and his brother suffered severe burns in a car fire.

It was 2000 and the young brothers were each strapped into their car seats when their mother ran back into the house. In that brief time, Kenny’s brother got out of his seat and found a lighter. When the boys’ mother returned, the vehicle was on fire.

Kenny’s brother was able to unstrap Kenny’s car seat, but he couldn’t open the door. When his mother returned she was able to get both boys out of the vehicle. But not before they suffered burns to a third of their bodies.

“I was burned on my hands, on my shoulders, on my back and on my head,” Kenny gestured to reporters during an interview at Regions Hospital.

The cameras came out to cover Kenny’s generosity. Kenny, 17, is working to become an Eagle Scout. As part of that effort, he came up with an idea to help pediatric burn patients at the Regions Burn Center. He raised money to fill 145 designer bags. Each is embroidered with motivational phrases and filled with activities, games and toys to keep young patients busy while they are hospitalized.

Comfort bags full of activities

“A gift like this can make all the difference to kids who are in the hospital for days or weeks, and they just can’t see past where they’re at in that moment,” said Mikki Rothbauer, a psychotherapist at Regions Burn Center. “But Kenny is showing them, through these bags that it’s going to be OK.”

Kenny and his brother were treated at HCMC, but the family credits Regions support programs and burn camps for helping him gain confidence to try new things. He has earned his black belt in karate and will soon be an Eagle Scout.

“They’ve given me so much,” Kenny said. “And this is one of the ways that I could repay.”

“There is hope, and you can do great things,” said Jenny Pecarina, Kenny’s mother. “Just because you have a burn injury doesn’t mean you can’t do whatever you set your mind to.”

Kenny, his family and his troop are making good happen for these patients. It’s the same kindness that the Regions Burn Center team shows every day when they work to make life easier for those who suffer from burn injuries.

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