Las Vegas real estate agent Michelle Hardy-Rodriguez is no stranger to the difficulties of recovering from a traumatic event. In 2013, she was involved in a near-fatal car accident that resulted in severe burns across her body. The accident was traumatic enough, but recovering from her physical and emotional wounds proved a feat unto itself.
For two weeks, Hardy-Rodriguez of Realty One Group was in the hospital and went through multiple surgeries to correct the damage to her body. After returning home, she faced six months of in-home nursing care, and it was in that time frame that she felt the full brunt of her accident. Physically and emotionally changed forever, Hardy-Rodriguez had to learn how to live life again.
She quickly realized that she needed support, access to resources and mental health care. She just as quickly realized the overall lack of availability of this kind of support. “There weren’t at the time and still aren’t many resources that cultivate the healing it takes around traumatic physical injuries and emotional trauma. So, I wanted to create something unique and different that offered special, personal attention and services,” she says.
She knew that bringing her story, and those of others, to light was a powerful first step in cultivating community. As a result, she created My Scars Are Beautiful, a website where she collects and shares the stories of those who have suffered from traumatic events.
The site took off in popularity and turned into a nonprofit that offers a range of services and community-building opportunities for people who have suffered physical and emotional trauma. The organization provides money for surgery, access to mental health care, support groups or social outings with people who have faced traumatic events.
Hardy-Rodriguez says that through her nonprofit, she’s learned her own journey wasn’t in vain. She’s found a sense of purpose and pride in being able to positively impact the lives of others. “I’ve learned through this endeavor that when you trust God and allow him to use you to help others, it brings hope and encouragement to those who are hurting so that they don’t feel alone in their battle,” she says.