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Plastic Surgeons Help Mend Shattered Lives

November 23, 2000|LYNN O'DELL

It's difficult for battered women to overcome the trauma of their experiences.

"Every time they look in the mirror, they see some of the results of that relationship," said Roxann Smith of Ocean Park Community Center in Santa Monica, which operates Sojourn Services for Battered Women.

Plastic surgeons, such as Michael Niccole, founder of CosmetiCare Plastic Surgery Specialists in Newport Beach, can change that.

And they do.

Niccole and his partners created a foundation 15 years ago to provide free reconstructive and plastic surgery services to those in need, including children and adult victims of domestic violence. His group performs about 150 public service cases a year.

Sojourn Services, which operates a crisis housing program for battered women and children, a 24-hour hotline and counseling service, honored Niccole as "Humanitarian of the Year." Actress Julianna Margulies, recognized in 1999 with the group's "Inspiration of the Year" award, made the presentation at a black-tie gala.

Niccole's cases include a young Mission Viejo woman beaten so badly by her boyfriend that she needed nose, ear and chin reconstruction, and a 9-year-old boy whose nose was flat from parental beatings.

"It's like winning the lottery every time you help a patient like this," Niccole said.

For more information on Sojourn Services for Battered Women, call (310) 264-6644; for Niccole's Magic Mirror Foundation, (949) 718-6900.

To be considered for this column, please send information on the Orange County person being honored along with a photograph to Lynn O'Dell, Los Angeles Times, Orange County edition, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626. (714) 283-5685.

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