By: Body1 Staff
As many U.S. and UK veterans return from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, they bear the sacrifice they made on their bodies. Missing limbs, impaired vision and deafness are just a few examples of the physical injuries they've endured. Almost all are scarred. View Bearing the Scars of Service with Dignity and Honor.
In response, many physicians specializing in scarring are voluntarily treating these soldiers for free. For example, Dr. Guadalupe Ponte, D.M.P., CEO of the Scar Treatment Center of the Desert in Palm Desert, California has started to treat scarred veterans for free at her clinic. Ponte feels she is not only tackling the physical appearance of scars, but also the emotional pain associated with them.
“Bad memories are just one of the negative ways that scars affect someone,” Ponte said. “Self esteem can be affected if the person is self-conscious about how they look. Times have changed since the ‘tough guy’ mentality of the past,” she added. “When people feel good about their appearance, their self esteem is going to be better.” In addition, industry executives who work with dermatologists report that across the country "hundreds of clinicians would volunteer their services to treat qualified scarred soldiers."
A movement may be starting and the founder may well be Maggie Lockridge, RN, a retired Air Force Nurse Corps veteran from Rancho Mirage, California who once owned a cosmetic and reconstructive surgery recovery center. She also started an organization called Iraq Star that provides free reconstructive surgery to U.S. veterans returning from Iraq. Click here to see Iraq Star on FOX News.
Now, in addition to her clinical work treating scarred veterans, Dr. Ponte has started raising national awareness of the issue. She has launched an non-profit initiative called Scars to Freedom which has been working on a major musical fundraising event to raise money and increase visibility for this cause. For more information on the project, click here to view a video. Another non-profit offering programs for injured veterans including around the clock care referrals is Wounded Warriors Project. Learn more about their mission here.