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S. D. (Samantha Doris) Michael, seriously injured in a car accident at 18 years of age, tells her story in The Beauty of My Shadow. When Doris, who just left home for college, goes out with friends one night, the sister of one of her friends is to drive them home. Drunk, the 21-year old woman causes an accident in which Samantha Doris is the only person injured. She is brought, via helicopter, to a Toronto emergency room where her parents and Aunt Gisele meet her. In a coma, they learn that she suffered a severe closed-head injury. Her face also, was severely scarred. Sometime after the event, unable to re-connect with her life as “Doris,” the young woman changes her name to Samantha. The injury causes a “disconnect” between her and her former friends and between her new self and “Doris,” the young woman she once was. Though her journey is accompanied by many difficulties, her family and new friends help to usher her into a new life. Also, Princess Diana’s legacy lives on when readers learn of her visit to the recovery hospital where Samantha Doris spent some time. After years of legal disputes over the extent of her injuries and of undergoing medical procedures, Samantha emerges triumphant, organizing her own organization, An Aid to Help Foundation, dedicated to providing important life skills to young people to help them to make good decisions.
The Beauty of My Shadow is a story of injury and recovery, pain and perseverance, anger and forgiveness, and emotional pain and healing. S. D. Michael walks readers through her journey with an honesty that is sometimes painful and always insightful. She provides information for hope and healing to others who have suffered similar injuries. Through her Foundation, S. D. Michael offers her memoir, books for children, and a CD to promote meditation, an exercise that was instrumental to her recovery. While Samantha Doris will always know some loss, the gains she made in finding herself are the themes that readers will hold and carry forward. With her efforts to assist others and her finding the means to forgive others, Samantha Doris is more than just a survivor—she is a force for change.