Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


Community embraces Bryten Figgins

by:  ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Bryten and Teryl Figgins (center) pose with Amy Munds' fifth-grade class and members of the Estacada Fire Department for OI Awareness Week on Wednesday, May 7.The Estacada community has taken extraordinary measures to make sure Bryten Figgins gets to enjoy a happy and active life.

The 11-year-old has had more than 500 fractured bones in her short life.

Because she’s so fragile, Bryten can’t wear a cast when she breaks a bone, despite feeling the same pain anyone else would feel with a fracture.

The longest she has ever gone without breaking something has been 18 days.

Bryten was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) or “brittle bone disease,” a genetic disorder characterized by fragile bones.

People born with the disorder are affected throughout their lifetime.

There is no cure.

Bryten could break a bone from laughing too hard, typing too long or getting bumped.

Not that the fragility of her body is preventing her from being happy.

A whole community has made a great deal of effort to see that she is.

“There hasn’t been anything ever in this community that Bryten hasn’t been able to do,” said Teryl Figgins, Bryten’s mother.

When Bryten attended the Estacada Fire Department’s annual Easter Egg Hunt at River Mill Elementary back in 2009, she wasn’t able to scramble for the eggs with the other kids.

No problem.

Two firefighters were assigned to her.

“They were absolutely amazing,” said Bryten’s mother, Teryl Figgins. “I was super impressed. Wheelchairs are difficult to maneuver on the grass, and if she was with the other kids she could get trampled and broken. So the fire department assigned two guys to be her buddies for the day. They took her around to see what was going on and set up a little egg hunt just for her.”

Figgins’ disorder also affects her teeth, making them very brittle. So the fire department made her a special basket with some plastic eggs, a bunny and other Easter items she could enjoy.

The event has since incorporated a roped off section for children with special needs.

This year, Bryten collected Easter eggs with her buddy, Hannah Crandell.by: CONTRIBUTED - Bryten Figgins and Hannah Crandell go over the spoils from the annual Estacada Fire Department Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 19.

Teryl is very thankful for children like Crandell.

With her daughter being so fragile, it demonstrates a significant amount of trust for Teryl to be comfortable letting Bryten play with her classmates and friends.

Teryl tells Amy Munds’ fifth-grade class just that.

For the third year in a row, the fire department brought Bryten to Clackamas River Elementary in a fire engine in honor of OI Awareness Week on Wednesday, May 7.

Bryten’s classmates got to clamber through the engine before posing for a picture.

Once inside, Teryl told the class about OI while the students cut their names out to form spine-like paper structures.

Teryl tells the class she’s always bragging about them, since she’s comfortable dropping off Bryten, knowing the students will protect her.

She knows no one will throw a ball or be rough when Bryten is around.

“It’s because of you, Bryten can lead a normal life,” Teryl told the class.

Teryl said later that Bryten’s peers have come up with creative ways to make sure she is included.

by: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Mayor Brent Dodrill gives Bryten a copy of the proclamation declaring May 6 as Community Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) Awareness Day in Estacada during the city council meeting on Monday, April 28.Figuring out how Bryten can “jump rope” in the wheelchair, for instance.

Bryten is no longer able to be in school for lengthy amounts a time.

A tutor comes to her home three times a week for homebound education.

Bryten goes to the school for PE, music and technology for about an hour four-times a week to be with her friends.

Teryl said she hopes Bryten will be back in school next year.

The city itself has officially recognized Bryten’s “unbreakable spirit.”

For the second year in a row, Mayor Brent Dodrill has proclaimed May 6 as Community Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) Awareness Day in Estacada, stating that “increased funding for education and research are needed to help find more effective treatments.”

You can help

The Figgins family is planning to take Bryten to Disney World in September for a fun-filled week free of medical appointments. The goal is to allow Bryten to experience being a typical kid. If you would like to help support the family for this trip, email Teryl at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .



Local Weather

Fair

69°F

Estacada

Fair

Humidity: 61%

Wind: 0 mph

  • 17 Sep 2014

    Cloudy 80°F 58°F

  • 18 Sep 2014

    Partly Cloudy 76°F 58°F