THE LIONS CHANGED MY LIFE Uplifted After Tragedy Life was never easy in Jamaica for Carol Guscott, but she was determined to make a good life for herself. In her early 30s Guscott started her own lumber business, and success was near. But everything changed on July 27, 1994, when a group of menacing-looking men showed up at her office claiming to be selling lumber. Her instincts told her to flee, but when she tried she was held at knifepoint and robbed. The men tied her hands and feet, and then the unthinkable happened: Guscott felt the piercing pain of acid being poured on her face. Blind and disfigured, Guscott began a long journey to not only survive but also to find healing, forgiveness and hope. Her memoir, “Face of Hope,” tells her story. One source of great kindness for Guscott was the Fullerton Breakfast Lions Club in California, which did everything from finding medical care to providing financial support. And most importantly for Guscott, they provided her with love and compassion she never thought she would receive. Q&A: Carol Guscott LION Magazine: How did you survive such a brutal attack? Carol Guscott: I just knew I didn’t want to die. It took hours to get to a hospital. The conditions there were horrible. It was dirty; there were roaches. I wasn’t healing there, so I traveled the country seeking eye care, hoping I would regain my vision. I had an inner strength that kept me going. LM: How did you make your way to the U.S.? CG: A Lions doctor from the Bahamas gave me hope that I could get better care in the U.S. I went to Florida where I had my first of four cornea transplants. I thought, if I can see, I’ll be OK. But my eyelids wouldn’t close properly, so each of the surgeries failed. LM: When did you meet the Fullerton Breakfast Lions? CG: I traveled to Orange County, California, for eye surgery. After I was there for about six months, I was in desperate need of help. I told a woman at church about this, and she told the Lions. That day two Lions showed up at my home with fresh oranges and canned food. The Lions found a doctor who would treat me for free. They sent me to school to learn to use a computer. I’m forever grateful that the Lions came into my life at my worst point. LM: And the Lions helped you financially? CG: Yes, they created the Carol Guscott Fund. They told the local paper about me. The story was picked up by a larger paper, then TV news, and I received more generosity and mercy than I ever thought possible. LM: Was writing “Face of Hope” a difficult process? CG: It was, but I had a story to tell—a story about courage, never giving up and service. So many people like the Lions touched my life and I couldn’t have made it without them. I also wanted to turn my story into something that could help people who are hurting. My message is that hope is alive, even in difficult, tragic, puzzling circumstances. Lions: have you heard from a beneficiary or a recipient of your kindness, service or charity? Tell us about the feedback you receive from those whose lives you’ve changed for the better. Email a brief description of your correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include “Thanks and Appreciation” in the subject line.
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