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Woman shares decorated back braces as sign of hope, joy

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Posted at 10:09 AM, Sep 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-23 10:09:40-04

The splashes of color and expertly-woven embroidery are a sharp contrast to the stiff medical equipment which they decorate.

Laurie Purcell says she’s a survivor of several injuries, but her most damaging injuries came from child abuse.  She says the abuse spanned years and even included being thrown from a second-story window at age 4.

At age 20, she started wearing back braces, something she found ugly.  Over the years she developed a technique to turn them into beautifully decorated pieces.  She developed looms and made 300 of them for her workshop. 

On a large loom, Purcell says she can make 20 different flowers.  Now, she teaches others to make the flowers for pain management therapy.

“What’s more important, to me, anyway, is that people know that the way they have an option to express themselves, no matter what extra gear they have to use.  When I go into the nursing homes and give flowers to the seniors for the wheelchairs and walkers, they spark up,” she said.

On a recent visit to Florida, Purcell says she was able to really take the “dis” out of “disability,” feeling more free than ever.

Purcell says she has given the creations to people with various needs; from children to the elderly and she has been part of several child abuse-based biker clubs and organizations. 

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