When Saundra Crockett married her husband, she never imagined that he would become her abuser. At 28, the young mother of two children had devastatingly become the victim of domestic violence.
Saundra’s husband beat her face so badly, an infection began to eat away at her face. The mother wore a mask in public for 12 years.
“The first hospital said, ‘You know, you’ve got three days to live and you probably won’t make it,’” Saundra told CBS in 2016.
Then she did something courageous: she got herself and her children out of that horrible situation. The family had to adapt to their new life, while her children also had to adapt to her new face.
“They could hear my voice, so they knew who I was, but they didn’t know who I was because of my face,” she said. “It was pretty awful.”
Enter Deborah Alessi, another survivor of domestic violence. Deborah and her husband started a nonprofit called Face Forward. The organization provided Saundra with support inside and out. Not only did they give her reconstructive surgery, they also provided her with counseling.
Everything was completely free, though there was one condition: Saundra has to pay it forward and help someone else in the same situation.
“This is a thousand times better than what I looked like when this first happened to me. I don’t think I could even describe how awful it was,” she said. “If I can speak to one person and give them hope that this doesn’t have to happen to you, I think that it’s my job to do that.”
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