Happy Valentine’s Day from The ROSE Fund!

We’ve just put the finishing touches on a very successful 2009 and we wanted to share a brief operational update and a touching love story from one of our ROSE recipients.

As a brief update on your prior investments in The ROSE Fund and the female survivors we serve, in 2009 for every $1 of expense we incurred more than $2 of value was delivered to these courageous women in the form of much needed reconstructive medical services and scholarship monies!

This has been achieved in large part due to the generosity of our medical partners and the tireless efforts of our staff (of 1) and volunteers (many).

As a result of the growth and strength of our expanding network of medical providers, our 2010 plan projects that we will be able to deliver more than 300 units of medical service (i.e. a medical, surgical or dental procedure).  Based on that, for every $1 of expense we incur in 2010 more than $4 of medical services will be delivered to a female survivor of domestic violence who could otherwise not afford to erase the phsical reminders of her abusive past.

With your help, we will continue to help these brave women to re-build their lives and regain their self-esteem.

Thank you for all your support and Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at The ROSE Fund.

Below is a simple love story from a recent ROSE recipient ….

February 14th 2010 is sure to be another day full of fulfillment, love and laughter for ROSE recipient Mary Mandolin*.  But this wasn’t always the case for this proud mother living just north of Boston.  In fact for more than 10 years that was far from the case as she lived through an abusive relationship.  In Mary’s* own words…

“He gave me black eyes so that I had to stay home or else wear sunglasses when I left the house.  He broke my nose. He would call me unspeakable names. It was an every six weeks cycle.  He was always saying it would never happen again.  I would forgive him.  Six weeks later it would happen all over again.

Along the way I became a changed person. I believed it when he told me that nobody else would want me, that I was an unattractive loser. I also believed I loved him.  I handed myself over to him completely and lost myself in the process.

I stayed and I stayed and I stayed. I stayed because Christmas was coming. I stayed because the kids needed school clothes.  I stayed because we had bills to pay.  Before I knew it, ten or fifteen years were gone.  Finally an inner voice, the real me buried deep inside, said: “You’ve got to get out.” And finally I did get out. And it was like a whole new world, a wonderful world.

Therapy saved my life.  It taught me the basics all over again: what’s right and what’s wrong, how to love and appreciate myself.  Every day I do something nice for myself.  Can you believe it — I didn’t even know what my favorite color was – what color blouse or dress I liked.  I would only dress for him, for what he liked.

My therapist told me about the ROSE Fund and the work they do to help survivors like me erase the physical reminders of our abusive past.  Soon thereafter I was at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary meeting with Dr Jaimie DeRosa.  I shared with her how with every glance in a mirror I saw myself disfigured. How the horror of the attacks would come back, and of the humiliation I suffered. She was so nice.  She comforted me and said that she had seen worse and that she and her staff were going to take great care of me.  You have no idea what that was like to hear.

After the surgery, when she took the bandages off my nose, I couldn’t stop crying.  For the first time in many years I could see the real me.  Now I wake up every morning, brush my teeth and I say out loud, “Well, good morning, Sunshine!”

With that surgery, everything feels new again.  I can’t say enough about The R.O.S.E. Fund. It saved my life.  My kids have seen the dramatic change in me.  I look like and I feel like the woman I’m supposed to be.  I can go out of the house. I can look people in the eye and I can smile.

To victims who haven’t yet broken the cycle, I can completely understand.  You think it’s love but it’s not love.  You have to love yourself more than that.  You can change your life. It’s about letting go, starting over and learning to love yourself again.  I have, and it’s truly wonderful.

By the way, I think I look great in purple.  As it turns out, it’s my favorite color.

To those who continue to support ROSE, thank you so much for what you have given me and my family and Happy Valentine’s Day!”

* Name has been changed to ensure the safety and privacy of our recipient

Cheers to Love, in all its forms!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Thanks for your continued support!

Have a Heart this Valentine’s Day and donate to help other victims of domestic violence love themselves first.