Hemani's appointment is part of our commitment to placing people with lived experience of scarring at the heart of our strategic decision making process.
Hemani brings valuable professional and personal insight to the role. She joins Chaiman of the Board, former National Medical Director of NHS England Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, and members including Lieutenant General Richard Nugee, former Chief of Defence People, people living with scarring, leading research scientists and financial, legal and communications experts.
Hemani was first introduced to The Scar Free Foundation just before she started medical school in 2007. Sixteen years later and now a qualified doctor working in a busy GP practice, Hemani is clear about the importance of the our mission:
“As a doctor I couldn’t be more excited by scar free healing for my patients, and as a burns survivor – and a mother - I just look forward to future generations having reduced or even no scars from accidents and operations. I am excited to be joining the Board of The Scar Free Foundation to ensure the lived experience voice is represented at the very heart of the Trustees’ decision making regarding forthcoming ground breaking research programmes across the UK.
At the age of 18 months I survived burns to 35% of my body when a candle caught onto my pyjamas, resulting in significant burn scarring on my head and ear, across my chest, and on my legs.
I was first introduced to The Scar Free Foundation by my surgeon who arranged for me to meet with the Chief Executive Brendan at the Royal College of Surgeons. I remember being quite excited about going there because it sounded quite posh when I was 18! After finding out more about the Foundation's aim and pioneering research, I was honoured to be asked to become an Ambassador. I am now thrilled to be joining the Board of Trustees to provide advice and support on a more strategic level.
My life has been punctuated by a series of painful operations to deal with the physical effects of the burns and recover functionality of all of my limbs. I lost one of my ears in the accident and initially my chin was fused to my chest. I lost function in one of my thumbs, causing restricted hand movement. As I grew, some areas would get tighter and more painful, and it would mean another operation was required to release the tightness and regain mobility. With each operation came a new trauma to the skin, resulting in a continuous cycle of scaring.
I now have a wonderful husband, and a beautiful little boy. My husband is my biggest cheerleader, who has always looked at my scarring as just being part of me. He says; 'you are you and that's all that matters’.”