Saturday at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center, an exhibit organized by the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance showcased 1,000 masks. Each mask offered a unique perspective on life with a brain injury.
"I hope people would just come and realize that, one, it’s very, very common, and that every one is different," said Jon Casey, referring to brain injuries.
Casey is a retired police officer who was struck in the head 20 years ago by a man holding a steel table leg.
"It blew a hole in the side of my head about the size of a silver dollar, fracturing my skull," Casey said. "And four pieces of my skull broke off. One was driven into my brain."
With his mask, Casey tried to convey both the physical and the emotional pain he experienced in the aftermath of his injury.
"I hope people just look at my mask and realize, here’s a cop who got hurt in the line of duty," Casey said.
Then, there are the masks designed by Amber-Rose Kordiak, which highlight a painful story.
"At 7-years-old, a 600-plus pound tractor tire fell over into me and the rim cut into my face, cutting it in half," Kordiak said.
It was an accident that almost killed her. On top of her physical injuries, she also suffered a brain injury in the incident.
Her masks convey her struggles, along with the hope she and her family have for the future.
"She has inspired me and hundreds of other people to take life faith on, and feel the sunshine and the birds singing and not listen to the storms and the rain," said Jen Kordiak, Amber's mother.
This is the first time all 1,000 masks have been brought together for a single exhibit.
April 3, 2017