LEWISTON — Carmen Blandin Tarleton, one of the world’s first face transplant patients, will give a talk about her ordeal and recovery in Lewiston on Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Tarleton, an author and motivational speaker, shares how she survived a horrific act of domestic violence that left her permanently disfigured, inspiring her to help others recognize their own strength and resilience.

According to a news release from Safe Voices, the event titled “Burned, Blinded and Blessed,” will start at 6 p.m. at the Franco Center, 46 Cedar St. Suggested donation is $10 per person.

There will be a reception and book signing after the talk.

Tarleton joins Safe Voices, the Lewiston-based domestic violence resource center, to kick off Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a national event held every October.

For more information or to reserve tickets, contact Kim Preble at (207) 795-6744 or enddomesticviolence@safevoices.org.


According to the Safe Voices release, in 2007, Tarleton’s estranged husband broke into her rural Vermont home and beat her with a baseball bat before dousing her with industrial-strength lye. The burns were so severe, only her hands and teeth were recognizable.

Doctors described it as “the most horrific injury a human being could suffer” and held little hope for her survival.

The couple has since divorced.

It was during her more than 55 surgeries, including a complete face transplant in 2013, that Tarleton decided she did not want to just survive; she wanted to thrive and inspire others.

Jane Morrison, executive director at Safe Voices, said, “It’s an honor to work with Carmen to raise awareness about domestic violence in Maine.

“At Safe Voices, we work with thousands of women, men and children every year. There’s a reason we call them ‘survivors,’ not ‘victims.’ We are all so much stronger than we know, and we all deserve to be safe and experience joy. Carmen is a perfect example of that,” she said.

Tarleton has been featured on CNN, BBC News and “The Doctors,” and in countless print stories. She lives in Vermont. Copies of her book, “Overcome: Burned, Blinded and Blessed,” will be available for purchase at the talk.

Safe Voices’ mission is to support and empower those affected by domestic violence and engage the community in creating social change in Androscoggin, Oxford and Franklin counties. For more information, go to safevoices.org. For immediate help, call the center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-800-559-2927.

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