Shackled by disfigured face - … Young lady pleads for help to remove scars caused by acid attack
A young woman who suffered severe acid burns nine years ago when she was only a teen, leaving her terribly disfigured, is praying for the nightmare to end and the opportunity for a better life.
“The stares I get just make me depressed and let me wonder why I am still alive,” she shared with The Sunday Gleaner last week, as she wiped tears from her badly scarred face.
Annmorine Bailey was only 17 years old when a much older cousin, who she used to call ‘Auntie’, doused her with a corrosive substance.
She is now pleading for a job and financial help to do plastic surgery to her face to help her get out of her misery.
“We used to live very loving and sometimes I wonder why she destroy my life like this,” Bailey lamented.
Recounting what led to the incident, she explained that her cousin, who was in her 50s, had a television selling for $16,000 and she paid her $10,000 as a deposit and took it home.
She was unable to pay the balance at the agreed time and her cousin was upset. While she was sitting in her yard at Mansfield, near Ocho Rios, St Ann, on May 24, 2011, she felt something like hot liquid being poured on her.
“I then felt a burning sensation as if my body was on fire and when I screamed, people came to help me. I was taken to the St Ann’s Bay Hospital where I was admitted for three days and then transferred to the Kingston Public Hospital, where I was admitted for 14 days for acid burns to my head, face, feet and hands,” Bailey remembered.
“Right now the right side of my head is completely bald as the hair cannot grow back. The right side of my body from head to knee was completely burnt.”
She confessed that she has used bleaching products, hoping they would help to remove the scars, but to no avail.
“I am very concerned about my face which is scarred from the right side to the neck, and there is absolutely nothing I can do to hide those scars,” she said.
NOT A BAD PERSON
Now in her mid 20s, Bailey disclosed that before the acid attack she had a lot of admirers, and persons used to comment on her beauty wherever she went. But now everyone sees her as the ‘ugly duckling’.
She said some persons even thought that she was a horrible person, which caused the incident. But that is far from the truth because when her cousin pleaded guilty in 2013 to causing grievous bodily harm with intent, Bailey had compassion on her and asked the judge not to send her to prison. However, the judge said the offence was very serious and sent her away for 10 years.
Bailey’s ambition was to be a teacher but she began suffering from depression because of the disfigurement and decided to instead pursue a career in catering and housekeeping so that she could get a job at a hotel. She enrolled in the Adam Training and Catering School in Buckfield, near Ocho Rios, St Ann, and after completion, she was sent to Jewel Runaway Bay Beach and Golf Resort to do on-the-job training in housekeeping. But since graduating in May 2019, she has not been able to get a job.
“I have applied to almost all the hotels on the north coast and at times turn up at some hotels seeking a job, but the responses have been negative,” Bailey stated.
“I know it is my scarred face that is preventing me from getting a job because at times I am afraid to look in the mirror.”
WANTS A BETTER LIFE
Bailey said one day she was talking to a hotel worker about her plight and the person responded, “No hotel is going to hire you with a face like that to frighten the tourists”. “My heart sank when I heard those comments and I could only burst out in tears,” she expressed.
Bailey pleaded, “If someone could just help me to get rid of the scars to my face and neck, then my life would be worth living because it would be easier for me to find a job.”
She noted that sometimes people would give her odd domestic jobs but the money was not enough to support her, and so many times she is hardly able to find food to eat.
“As a teenager, I had goals and plans for a better life for me and my mother, and I really do not want to give up on life so I am urgently pleading for help to have a better life and to be a useful citizen,” Bailey begged.