Touching Lives: Five Stories of Transformation
True Community. Touching Lives.
Let’s Face It Together is a non-profit foundation that brings community members together to fill the gap between what is available in our healthcare system and what is required to make patients whole.
Helping one person at a time, the foundation has touched the lives of many by restoring health, confidence and self esteem to people significant facial alterations.
The five people introduced here are but a few whose lives have been transformed by the Let’s Face It Together Foundation. The need is much greater.
Former Dental Assistant, Unemployed, uninsured I found Dr. Cockerham online while researching my Graves Disease, and trying to figure out how I could afford treatment. I was intrigued by the link on her website to the Let’s Face It Together Foundation: “Uninsured? We can help.”
I emailed them and Dr. Cockerham herself replied back to me. After exchanging several emails and photos, she determined I needed to make an appointment to see her, where she agreed I was a candidate for surgery. Finally I had someone who believed me! She has personally fought for me to get my life back.
I have a lonely and disfiguring disease that has robbed me of my life. It changed my face and eyes. I used to work as a dental assistant specializing in orthodontics but double vision ended my career. I avoid being seen and even shun family pictures. At home alone, my vision prevents me from enjoying simple daily things like reading, working on a computer or driving.
I have just started my journey with Dr. Cockerham and the Let’s Face It Together Foundation, but I already feel less anxious and optimistic that I will be back to myself and productive again. I am excited to have undergone my first surgery and look forward to ongoing interventions and care over the next year.
"I have a lonely and disfiguring disease. It changed my face and eyes. I avoid being seen.”
Marketing and Consulting, Underinsured As a competitive cyclist, I would often combine my training with my commute to work. One cold November morning, I collided with an SUV—my face was no match for the truck’s side window. Among other injuries, the collision left me with deep cuts to the right side of my face. While my insurance paid for the emergency-room visit and 128 stitches, I was left with a significantly altered appearance. It was the beginning of a new path in my life—with the harsh lessons of the medical insurance system.
After my initial surgery, I was referred to Dr. Cockerham for her expertise in reconstruction after trauma. I still remember the feeling of relief when she spoke of her military service. I understood that I could never be 100% again, but Dr. Cockerham gave me hope that improvement was possible. Through the Let’s Face It Together Foundation, Dr. Cockerham was able to provide me laser treatments and injections that were critical to my recovery—treatments my insurance company deemed unnecessary.
I am greatly indebted to the Let’s Face It Together Foundation. I am now at 90% of my original facial function and appearance. I ride my bike outdoors again and live a fulfilling life, facing the world with greater confidence.
“ I was left with a significantly altered appearance. It was the beginning of a new path in my life—with the harsh lessons of the medical insurance system.”
Parole Officer, Underinsured I had been on my own since I was 12, essentially fending for myself and siblings without help from my gang-involved and substance-abusive family. Despite growing up in a violent neighborhood and periods of homelessness, I was the first in my family to graduate high school. While juggling community college, working with troubled community youth and caring for my siblings, I was involved in a car accident with a drunk driver. After the emergency visit and initial surgery, I was still left with glass and gravel in my scarred face. I needed more medical help, but my insurance provider disagreed.
I felt like a monster. People would look at me and look away. Dr. Cockerham provided me the care I could have never received, and allowed me to look in the mirror again and like who I saw. She gave me back my self esteem.
I will never forget the help of Dr. Cockerham and Let’s Face It Together that helped fill the gap that the business
of healthcare often leaves. With confidence, I am leading a fulfilling life as probation officer and counselor for underprivileged kids involved in gangs.
“ I felt like a monster. People would look at me and look away. Dr. Cockerham provided me the care I could have never received.”
Farm worker, Uninsured My face started to swell and a mass near my eye became larger and larger. I had seen many doctors, but none could help me. Finally I met Dr. Cockerham who provided the surgery I needed. She saw me many times over the course of several months to make sure I healed well.
I am very thankful to the Let’s Face It Together Foundation for their help.
I am now a productive worker and feel comfortable attending social functions again. Thank you for all you have done!
“ A mass near my eye became larger and larger. I had seen many doctors, but none could help me.”
Former Model, Administrative Assistant Under-insured When I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease in 2003, doctors told me it would get worse before it got better. My thyroid imbalance was treated with radioactive iodine and within weeks, my eyes and face changed, and I gained a great deal of weight. I was unrecognizable to myself and my loved ones.
Comments like ‘What’s wrong with your eyes?” “What happened to your face?” steadily deteriorated my self-esteem. My endocrinologist’s advice was to just accept that I was getting older. I withdrew from family and friends and became a recluse as I suffered in silence. I was unable to drive because of double vision and loss of depth perception, and peripheral and night vision. These symptoms and my increasing anxiousness and irritability added to my feelings of depression.
After three years, I found Dr. Cockerham. She listened, studied my photos, reviewed all the data, and reassured
me that I wasn’t losing my mind. Within my first visit, she charted a one-year course of action that included surgery and other reconstructive procedures.
I am so thankful for the care Dr. Cockerham provided through the Let’s Face It Together Foundation. She not only restored
my eyesight, but I am finally able to look at myself in the mirror and see the person I used to be before Graves’ Disease.
I have regained my confidence and have a full life again.”
“I withdrew from family and friends and became a recluse as I suffered in silence.”