Laura Sharpe fought her way through four weeks in a coma, endured 43 broken bones, burns over more than 40 percent of her body, multiple skin grafts, the near-loss of an eye, and the partial amputation of her foot. For more than two years after her near-death experience, Sharpe endured endless physical pain and 40 – 60 weekly hours of medical treatment and therapies.
Focusing on the future, and feeling grateful for all the love and support she was blessed to receive, Laura Sharpe embarked on a journey of re-discovery through a personal engagement with the arts. From her work with esteemed artists in the areas of photography, film, dance, sculpture and music, Sharpe was able to rise above and beyond her pain and dramatically improve the quality of her recovery through the creative interaction between herself and the artists.
Sharpe’s first artistic exhibition entitled, The Laura Project: “Re-Membered” Interpretations of Reconstruction, was showcased at the James Gray Gallery in Santa Monica's Bergamot Station in 2011. The multi-media event featured the emotional works of art created by Sharpe during her recovery.
Inspired by her physical and emotional transformation, Sharpe was compelled to help other trauma survivors find strength in their recovery, regain a sense of hope and see the beauty in life. In 2012 she founded a 501c3 non-profit, Artists for Trauma (AFT), creating a signature brand of empowering, interactive, adaptive art and entertainment venues based on her personal healing through art recovery experience. She has been blessed with a diverse range of personal and professional learning opportunities and feels lucky to be guided and mentored by many successful business people; some self-made, some highly educated, corporate executives, business owners and wonderful human beings.
Exclusive Column by Laura Sharpe
Trauma, tragedy and miracle are all part of the life process. They do not discriminate nor are they fairly distributed. Simultaneously they occur across all diverse cultures, countries, colors, ethnicities, genders, religious beliefs, and dimensions of time and thought on planet Earth. In this process of life, birth and re-birth; decay and destruction are integral to creating new life. As fellow travelers, we are mindful, compassionate, and intentional through our attitude and actions to one another. We share our authentic personal story of survival or service to offer relatability, respect and hope to others who are navigating intense physical, mental and emotional life impact. Uncomfortably or joyfully, we share the range of human emotions related to our personal trauma or miracle. In the end or the new beginning, we learn we are all fellow travelers.