On March 23, 2003, Sherry Bean was high on drugs at a party. Someone drove her to a barn, where she was hit over the head with a brick, assaulted, covered in pine straw and set on fire.
"How someone could do this to someone? I made a lot of mistakes in my life. I admit that, but I didn't deserve this," she said.
When tree trimmers found her a day later, Bean had burns over 40 percent of her body. She believes she was left there to die. She lost her right arm and three fingers on her left hand. She was in the hospital 11 months. So far, she has had 28 surgeries and more will come.
Nowadays, Bean learns simple tasks all over again and shares her story with school children. By the response she gets, she believes her anti-drug message is getting through.
"I promise to you I will never do drugs and drink. You are my inspiration," she tells kids in their meetings.
Bean is a survivor, but it has not been easy. A man originally arrested for the crime was let go for lack of evidence.
"I can't keep dwelling on the past. I have to look forward," she said.
An appreciation and benefit reception for Bean is scheduled for Sunday at Pinehurst Village Assembly Hall. Money raised from a silent auction will help with Bean's personal expenses.