Face Forward, a charity that provides pro-bono reconstructive surgery for victims of domestic violence, victims of violent crimes and whom recently added victims of human trafficking, held their 6th annual fundraising gala celebrating survivors which was attended by a star studded roster of celebrities on September 19th. This amazing charity works with organizations from all over the country and newly expanding around the world, to find patients that have overcome the horrific consequences of violent crimes such as domestic violence and human trafficking and would benefit from correcting the physical scars that are still left behind. Dr. David Alessi and his wife and organization founder Deborah Alessi, work tirelessly to identify and transform these victims so that they can leave behind the physical stars to face forward to a new life.
Celebrities that attended included Nelly, “Sugar” Shane Mosley, La Toya Jackson, Luis Guzman, Bonnie Somerville, Marcia Gay Harden, Jo Frost, Ben Hollingsworth, John Savage, Kevin Frazier, Lu Parker, Lana Parrilla, Shaun Toub, Shantel Jackson and performances by Macy Gray and Chaka Kahn lit up the evening and had the crowd up on their feet.
The most poignant part of the evening was a story featured by a young woman referenced as NJ who is a survivor of 15 years of sex trafficking, human slavery, drug addiction and violent physical abuse. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house listening to her firsthand account and even more impressive was her attitude of perseverance and optimism for the future magnified by her excitement to work with Face Forward.
Recognition was given to La Toya Jackson for so openly speaking about her personal experience with control and abuse and her inspiring woman of all ages and lifestyles to get out and start over. LAPD human trafficking division who saved NJ, received recognition for their work in handling these atrocious crimes on humanity. Dr. Karen Kay Imagawa from CHLA, also received an award for the work she does with children who are victims as young as two.
The celebrities themselves were generous not only with their attendance and support but they all made generous donations and offered themselves for fundraising. I am touched that the talent that supported us by attending were so inspired to help that they continued their generosity throughout the night – I am truly grateful,” said founder Deborah Alessi “tonight was really about the survivors, the sponsors and the organizations that help us to do the incredible work we do to change the lives of these survivors” said Deborah Alessi.
Over $500,000 was raised which will make 2016 a great year for a lot of patients. Sponsors for this event were Etihad Airways, Turkish Airlines, Ebay Auction Cause, Casey Cunningham, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Luna Gardens Events.
To join the fight against domestic violence, please visit:
About Face Forward:
Face Forward founder and CEO Mrs. Deborah Alessi founded Face Forward in 2007. Mrs. Alessi is a survivor of domestic violence and as a true advocate of this worthy cause was recently awarded a “Community Hero Award” from the Los Angeles Dodgers recognizing her for her efforts. To help other survivors get a second chance at life, Mrs. Alessi recruited her husband and renowned facial reconstructive surgeon Dr. David Alessi M.D. The couple work constantly to help victim ‘face forward’ to the rest of their lives. Face Forward is a 501© non-profit organization. Since its creation Face Forward has worked with other advocates around the nation to identify victims of domestic violence who are working towards recovery, yet carry the physical evidence of past abuse. Face Forward does more than just provide pro bono reconstructive surgery to adults and children who have suffered from traumatic and physical abuse; they also create a welcoming and safe environment for the victims to start a new life and reclaim their confidence. With domestic violence occurring every 15 seconds in the United States, Face Forward strives to alleviate the internal and external scars of victims and those affected. Ninety percent of all rape and abuse cases lead to physical disfigurement and Face Forward provides treatment to victims who are not able to afford medical assistance.
Photos courtesy of Faye Sadou