Quang Ngai, Vietnam—Michael Demian, Interplast associate director of foundation and corporate relations.
Mai is a 34 year old mother of two who was severely burned four years ago by an acid attack. She previously received skin grafts to her neck and chest, but her skin still formed contractures, which prevent her from fully closing her mouth or be able to completely turn her head.
Four years ago, Mai was as happy as she could be. She met the love of her life and was getting married to him. When she shared the news with her best friend, instead of being happy for her, the best friend was enraged. Unbeknownst to Mai, her best friend had developed affectionate feelings for her and was angry at Mai for choosing to marry a man. The anger did not stop there. Several months later, after Mai had gotten married and was three months pregnant, her friend showed up at her doorstep and threw acid at Mai, severely burning her neck, arms, hands, chest, and stomach. Mai was in the hospital for over a month. Because her healing process was extremely difficult, and it was hard for her to eat, her baby was born malnourished. Fortunately, Mai has a loving husband who stayed by her side, and Mai now has two children. Unfortunately, her assailant was never caught, and Mai lives in fear that she will one day return to hurt her again.
Mai traveled many hours to be able to receive surgery from Interplast to release her burn contractures. Although Mai will always be scarred, both physically and emotionally, she hopes that this surgery will provide her with the mobility she needs to be able to work, go out in public, and take care of her children.
Mai’s surgery took over three hours and involved an extensive skin graft from her abdomen. For the first time in years, Mai was given a chin and the ability to close her mouth fully and move her neck. Mai was recently released from the hospital in Quang Ngai, and is recovering well.