“Oh dear he has a gun.”
About nine days later I remember the nurse.
This was nine days after three gun-shots left the 45 magnum. One passed through the right side of my face, taking out my top lip, jaw and teeth and breaking the bottom jaw. A second skimmed the back of my head fracturing my skull and leaving a bone deep wound. The third grazed my left cheek.
I was lucky that day. Lucky nothing hit my brain. Lucky the paramedics picked me up so quickly. Lucky for the skills and tenacity of the medical team that saved my life (including plastic surgeons).
Later plastic surgeons rebuilt my face. They mended the hole so that I could be understood when I talk and could eat solid food without losing most of it. They rebuilt the bones around my eye so I could read again.
They saved my life and gave me back the ability to live the way I want.
I want to thank them.
I want to make sure others have the opportunity to benefit as I have.
I want to tell you how important it is to understand the effects that surgery can have in giving people back the lives that they want to live For me, it’s not about the way I look it’s about how it effects the way that I live my life.. I remember a conversation with one of my doctors, managing my expectation. Doctor: “well what do you want to achieve?” Me: “I want to be able to eat a sandwich”. Sound a bit silly right? But at the time the ability to open my mouth due to scarring and scar tissue was limited to less than a centimeter So no scar tissue would equal better eating! It’s a very day to day kind of impact. Anything that helps people understand the huge problems me and so many others face with their scars is the reason why I am part of the Foundation.
Scars mark you out, sometimes in a bad way, but also in a good way. The fear is that scarring closes doors, but actually it can open them; you just need to let it. I don’t see my scars when I look in the mirror, but I know other people do. I know they’re looking at me because I look different. Sometimes I think about what it would be like to not be noticed. More than anything, you have to fight the temptation to shut doors. It feels scary, but if you can do that, you, and everyone else, will always end up in a better place. The scars belong to you. You don’t belong to them.
It’s not just about my personal journey, my personal journey is a journey that is similar to millions A scar is always a tragedy of some kind. It might be a tiny tragedy that needs a plaster on a knee, or it might be the huge tragedy. of a family dealing with a child who has accidentally knocked a cup of tea over their shoulder will have multiple surgeries over decades as they grow, Every scar is a tragedy in some way. What the Foundation does is helps us relieve the effects of those tragedies.
The Scar Free Foundation provides the opportunity to bring together all of the great minds and great people who are doing all sorts of incredible bits and pieces around the world to look at scars and how scarring effects people, and how they can make life easier.
I think it is important to be an Ambassador for three reasons. One, because it helps us to know other Ambassadors and gives us a sense of community. Two, because as wonderful as the scientists are and the doctors are, they are not us. They don’t know what it’s like to be in the body or a person with a scar. I want to help communicate both the intimacy of the problem and also the very public side of what I and millions of others live with. I want to help the researchers and groundbreakers understand what is important from a patients perspective. The third reason is that it’s not just the boffins that need to know, it is also important to tell the world that this matters. Scarring matters.
Things that cause scars are always going to happen, but the Scar Free Foundation – with your support of course – can help us reach a day when physical scarring will be a thing of the past and all our futures will be scar free.