Saundra was in a relationship with an addict. Together the two of them had a son and daughter. Saundra and her husband lost their home because of his addictions, and Saundra covered up her pain by focusing on caring for her children.
On Saundra’s 28th birthday, she was out celebrating with her husband when she suddenly could not find him. After searching for him for hours, Saundra found her husband with another woman, and he became enraged.
Saundra’s husband took her outside and started yelling and screaming at her, then started punching her. Saundra was left unconscious, alone, and developed a condition called Necrotizing Fasciitis from the blunt force trauma.
This rare, skin-eating bacteria made Saundra's face swell, then start rapidly decaying. After 28 surgeries and having half of her back being cut off for skin grafts, Saundra was able to get the infection removed from her face.
However, that cost her all of the skin, muscle and feeling on the right side of her face along with part of Saundra’s neck. It took years before Saundra was comfortable enough with her body to live without a constant mask on her face. Saundra found Face Forward to aid with her reconstruction process and today, is confident in herself and her appearance.
After going back to school and graduating, she started working and found an amazing job. She is also an advocate in raising awareness for Face Forward as a member of the Patient Advocacy Board and in the fight against Domestic Violence.
It is estimated that 1,500 acid attacks takes place every year around the Globe, and an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of domestic violence each year. Hanifa is 31 years old and the mother of two children. She lost her nose, and right eye, among other physical deformities after acid was thrown at her due to her husband.
Hanifa was picking up her children from her estranged husband’s house (a University Professor), when she was viciously attacked. The couple’s 18 month old daughter also fell on the acid after she heard her mother scream in pain. Hanifa is going to be undergoing a series of surgeries over the next 2 years as a result of her injuries.
Instead of hiding every day, Hanifa has decided to be strong! Currently, Hanifa is an Advocate Officer for the Acid Survivors Foundation in Uganda. She is now attending the University of Pittsburgh pursuing a Master’s Degree and is a very brave, humble, caring and articulate lady who is proud to be a part of the Face Forward Patient Advocacy Board.
Stephanie Schurman was brutally beaten and sexually assaulted in a small Georgia town back in 1993. As she was unpacking her car late one night and moving her then three little girls from her car to her apartment, when her cousin's ex-boyfriend attacked her.
He beat her, raped her, and as she tried to escape, he grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed her multiple times, promising to kill her. As she laid on the floor in a pool of her own blood, Stephanie pretended to be dead and her attacker escaped through a window. She mustered the energy to run outside and knock on her neighbors' doors until an upstairs neighbor finally answered and called police. The suspect was caught and convicted, but only served 15 years.
Since that horrific night, Stephanie has moved forward with her life, remarried a great man, and found the strength to share her story. She even wrote a book called “Pain 2 Purpose”-- using it as both a teaching tool and source of inspiration for others. She has forgiven her attacker, and now uses her past as a tool to help other survivors of domestic abuse. Stephanie now holds a Bachelor Degree in Psychology and a Masters Degree in Education Leadership.
After her first surgery with Face Forward, she knew she found a new mission in wanting to pay it forward. She is proud member of the Patient Advocacy Board and as a Pastor, she looks to help spread the word about Face Forward to various church organizations.