How medical tattooing made a huge difference to this brave lady
We would like to share with you the life story of an amazing woman. The story I am about to tell doesn’t make easy reading but I would not be doing her struggle justice if I sugarcoated it, or made light of it, but there IS a happy ending.
I want to share this with you because FTG were able to be a part of this ladies life and make a difference. It’s an inspiring and beautiful story, and we thank Shalita from the bottom of our hearts for sharing her journey with us. Shalita told her story, through tears, to Kelly Smith (our lead medical trainer) who has been working with her now for 6 years. Shalita is truly the bravest person I have ever met.
Shalita was born in 1987 and, at the age of 18, her life changed beyond all recognition due to a horrific act. Shalita’s
parents held high ranking positions in her country’s government at the time. She was taken from her home by the
army and tortured for information regarding her parents. She told Kelly, “I wasn’t ready to give them the information they wanted. I knew that they would kill my parents if I did and I was ready to die for them”
They tortured Shalita for many days using a mixture of acid and petrol to burn her skin leaving no single part of her body unscathed. She did not talk, she did not tell them what they wanted to know, and still they continued to torture her. They realised that they would not get what they wanted from her and abandoned her body by the side of the road and left her there to die.
Miraculously she was found by a farmer and taken to hospital, barely clinging to life. The extent of her injuries were
so severe that the hospital simply could not do more than keep her alive. Her body was covered in burns, her eyes were burnt into their sockets; (she no longer had ears). Shalita had breathed in chemicals as she screamed for help, and the burning skin on her hands had melted her fingers together.
What they left behind was a shell; she could not see, hear or speak; “there was nothing of me left.”
After 8 long months and numerous major operations, Shalita had a chance encounter with a lady who was visiting on
behalf of Action for the Blind. This lady took it upon herself to bring Shalita ‘back to life.’ She gave her a home, gave her care and sourced medical help from anywhere she could in order to offer her a better chance. Shalita told us about the children of the lady she lived with. They were scared of her.
She had no eyes or hair and her skin was still severely scarred. She hid away from the world and one day tried to take her own life. She was again saved at which point the lady realised she needed more than kindness and sought help for her in the UK.
Moving to the UK
Shalita moved to the UK, all alone, and was cared for through the outstanding skill and dedication of the team at the Chelsea and Westminster hospital. They continued with skin grafts, gave her back her sight, repaired her voice box and reconstructed her face. She received the highest level of care and, after an amazing 28 operations, Shalita is the women we see before us today. Smiling, happy, loving life.
When FTG met Shalita
It was in 2010 that Dawn, Shalita and Kelly first met. Shalita was starting to feel complete again but she was still missing the definition that brows and lips give to a face. After her surgery, Kelly started micropigmentation treatment. Six years later, Shalita not only has beautiful brows, recolouration around/in her eye socket, defined lip line and improved skin texture through meso ME treatments, but she also has a life
which she shares with a wonderful man who acted as her carer before they fell in love. The last time we saw Shalita, she was embarking on a college course in fashion. Shalita is now 34 and will forever carry around her story in her heart and visibly on her body, but through true bravery, the kindness of others and her own strength she has overcome this torment and found happiness.
We are proud to know Shalita and be a part of her recovery, even if it was just the finishing touches. Shalita
recently spent a day doing a photo shoot and we are sure that you will agree that her inner beauty shines radiantly
through her smile.
Shalita has featured in many publications sharing her story and journey.