Scar Free 20 Oct 22 Hemani Lord

A Year in Review : 2022

This year has been an exciting time for The Scar Free Foundation. With our national programmes of research now well underway, we take a look back at what we have achieved in 2022.

In January we were honored to welcome long serving Ambassador, Dr Hemani Modasia-Shah GP, to the Board of Trustees. We also welcomed Ambassador Dr Jaco Nel to the Scar Free Research Council. Jaco and Hemani's appointments are part of our commitment to placing people with a lived experience of scarring at the heart of our strategic decision-making process. Hemani and Jaco bring invaluable insight to their roles. In October we were sad to see Trustee and previous Honorary Treasurer, Mr Simon Boadle retire from his role as a member of the Trustees after more than nine years of dedicated service; we are enormously grateful to Simon.

In February we were pleased to announce the completion of the UNITS (Understanding Needs and Interventions for Treatment of Scarring) study, the first study of its kind to assess the psychological impact of an altered appearance as a result of scarring and limb loss sustained during military conflict. The study concluded that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) would be an appropriate therapeutic approach in this context, adapting existing resources and creating prototypes of new materials that could meet the specific support needs and preferences of serving personnel and veterans with appearance-altering injuries.

In March our Royal Patron, HRH The Countess of Wessex, officially launched our world-leading facial reconstruction research programme at Swansea University, meeting researchers and Ambassadors to learn more about the study. The £2.5m three-year initiative is currently investigating pioneering 3D bioprinting of nose and ear cartilage using human cells, as well as the world’s largest study of how facial scarring impacts mental health.

In April, in partnership with three of our Principal Member Organisations - the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), the British Burn Association (BBA), and the British Society for Surgery of the Hand (BSSH) - we awarded three Scar Free Student Elective Awards. Each of these talented students carried out an eight week research project on wound healing and scarring and we look forward to reporting their progress in future Newsletters..

In May we celebrated the 10-year anniversary of The Scar Free Foundation Cleft Gene Bank and Cohort Study , now the world’s largest genotyping study to include parents as well as children born with cleft. In November, we were thrilled to report another milestone in the study. The 10,000th participant – five-year old Elsie – was recruited to the study. This achievement will allow the Cleft Collective, and researchers from around the world, to mine the genetic, clinical, and self-reported data to answer key research questions.

In June two of our burns projects concluded; 'Loops' Long-term Outcomes of Paediatric Scalds – a study to looked at the feasibility of a multicentre cohort of burn injury patients and The Global Burn Outcome Set project which assessed core outcomes in burns research, to help ensure that short term outcomes and outcome measures for use in burn injuries are standardised. In addition our Conflict Wound Pilot Project - Novel Haemostatic Medical Devices for Acute Conflict Wound Treatment – investigated a novel substance which would be used in a ‘smart dressing’. This work has enabled Dr Yap and colleagues to bring the substance closer to clinical trials and eventual regulatory approval.

In July we published our Impact Report video to help visualise the breadth of our work to date. Over the last 23 years, the Foundation has overseen a £50 million programme of life changing medical research. We have funded scientists and clinicians working in the NHS and universities; leading academics with expertise in psychology, biomaterials, genetics, epigenetics, child health, nursing, immune cell biology, cell matrix biology, wound healing, speech and language therapy, regenerative medicine, laser therapy, tissue regeneration, public health and more.

In August we launched our refreshed research strategy. Five-years after the launch of our Scar Free focus we worked hard to ensure that our research priorities are clear, relevant and achievable. We worked with world class researchers, clinicians, scientists and, of course, our Ambassadors to create the exciting and recharged research strategy.

In September we launched our very own Scar Free Foundation Podcast –providing new insights into the impact of scarring and the work we fund. Our six-part series concluded with a poignant interview with the Foundation’s Lead Ambassador, Simon Weston CBE. We hope to be back with series 2 of The Scar Free Foundation Podcast in 2023.

A highlight for every year is our Annual Ambassador and Update Event which took place in October. This year at the Ambassador event we brought together our Ambassadors with our researchers, providing an opportunity for important lived experience discussions to take place. This helps us ensure the right research is being funded, and helps us to understand how this research will impact those affected by scarring. The Update Event provided an opportunity for scar free supporters to learn about the research that has taken place in the year. In addition, this year we were honoured to hear our Young Ambassador, Delilah Care, speak at the event. Delilah, who bravely shared her inspiring experience living with scarring, showed us all how she will not let her scars stop her from doing anything – but why the work the Foundation is doing is so important.

Although the year has been full of positive steps to help us towards our mission of a scar free world, one devastating piece of news did descend on us all. Dr Amber Young, who tragically succumbed to her long battle against cance. Amber was one of the most passionate, deeply committed and caring clinical researchers we have ever had the pleasure of working with. Amber’s dedication to helping those affected by scarring, and commitment to creating better research and treatments is inspirational. We have lost a true friend, but one that will never be forgotten.

We truly are so grateful to all those who have supported The Scar Free Foundation and look forward to more exciting research, events and scar free announcements in 2022.


We are committed to delivering scar free healing within a generation.

We have ambitious plans to transform our understanding of scars, develop treatments to ensure more effective wound healing and provide a lifetime of support for people living with significant scars.

But we can only do this with your help.

This Christmas we ask you to donate to The Scar Free Foundation. Your support will help unlock the secrets of scarring and develop new treatments for traumatic injuries like burns and conflict wounds.

If you can, please support our Christmas appeal and help us to give the gift of scar free healing.

From all of us at The Scar Free Foundation, Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2023.