Carmen Tarleton shares survival story - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Carmen Tarleton shares survival story

Thetford, Vermont - February 28, 2011

It's been well over three years since Carmen Tarleton was brutally attacked in her Thetford home leaving her permanently disfigured.

But Tarleton refuses to give up on life. And now, she's sharing her message with others.

The word "courage" in some forms of the martial arts is described as the conquest of fear. Carmen Tarleton is a living example of that definition in the Thetford Do-jo where she's currently learning Karate. It's one of her first stops on a speaking tour Tarleton is embarking on.

In the summer of 2007 Tarleton's estranged husband doused her with industrial strength lye which burned over 90 percent of her body. Her road to recovery has been difficult. But, Tarleton has begun sharing her story. Her two daughters were on hand for this talk. They were witnesses to the brutal attack.

"I am very proud of my mom, because if that had happened to me, I would probably be in my room all the time and she comes out here and tells people about it," said Carmen's daughter Hannah.

Like what is was like to look at herself in the mirror for the first time. But Tarleton told the audience that she refused to be inhibited by her disfigurement.

"It would have been easy for her, given her circumstance, given the level of injury and the pain that she endured to simply give up. But she was intensely committed to living. Living for her family and living in the home that they shared," said Gail Dimick who attended the talk. 

A house where the attack took place that Tarleton and her family would not relinquish. Tammy Hanchett brought her young boy to hear Tarleton speak.

"I want my son to know that no matter what happens in life, you can get through it. This is my son Dakota. That it is ok. That there is courage and that you can proceed in life no matter how you look, your appearance, or what happens to you," said Tammy.

Tarleton told the group that hitting bottom, so to speak, in itself takes strength and helps a person become comfortable with who they really are.

"I hope that they like it and that they just walk out of here feeling better about themselves than when they walked in," said Hannah.

A message of inspiration and conquest intended to resonate with those courageous enough to attend. Carmen's next talk will be this Sunday morning at the United Methodist Church in White River Junction.

Adam Sullivan - WCAX News

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