Get ready for a story of strength, courage, and sheer grit…
Dana Vulin was born into a tight-knit family, with two older sisters and a twin brother. She and her family lived in the small community of Koolan Island off the coast of Western Australia during her early childhood, before relocating to Perth when Dana was 6 years old. Dana was a cheeky, confident kid and built a rich network of friends throughout her time at school. On completing high school, Dana enrolled in a Bachelor of Communications where she graduated with a major in Advertising. As well as a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Management.
At the age of 25, Dana faced a turn of events that would change her life forever, a violent and unprovoked attack at the hands of a disturbed woman. Dana’s attacker had been stalking her for months, jealousy motivated by a completely delusional and false belief that Dana was involved with her estranged husband. During the early hours of February 16th, 2012, the woman broke into Dana’s apartment with a male accomplice, doused Dana with methylated spirits and set her on fire whilst laughing and watching her burn alive, causing horrendous third degree burns to 64 percent of her body and face. Within seconds, Dana’s former life, her physical functioning, her independence, her goals, and dreams were ripped away. The destruction caused to Dana’s body and face was unimaginable, the pain that she endured was indescribable. Upon admission to the hospital, Dana was placed in a coma for 10 days, after which she woke to face the horror of what had been done to her.
In 2013, the District Court found Dana’s attacker guilty of intentionally causing grievous bodily harm with intent and sentenced her attacker to 17 years in prison (15 years without parole). This sentence pales in comparison to the lifelong scarring and rehabilitation that Dana has been left with. Since 2012, she has undergone countless agonising functionality graphs and necessary reconstructive surgeries, as well as occupational therapy and daily physical therapy. The first few years after the attack were the most difficult period in Dana’s life. Despite the damage that the fire wreaked on Dana’s body and entire life, her fighting spirit and sheer determination to live were not and cannot be destroyed.
At the end of 2013, Dana encountered yet another major hurdle with a routine pap smear revealing cervical cancer. While this diagnosis would be daunting for most, for Dana at just 27 it signalled that there would be even more surgeries to brave and mental hurdles to breakthrough. Dana has fought blood tears and unimaginable pain to be where she is today – ALIVE.
Dana is enthusiastic about continuing with the medical and cosmetic treatments that will allow her to build on the outcomes that she and her doctors have already achieved to date. She hopes her journey will inspire other burn survivors and all who face adversity. Her uplifting achievements have been set against a backdrop of painful and prolonged medical procedures, proving that you CAN overcome the odds.
Dana made international headlines around the world when she publicly removed her compression mask for the first time on Channel 7’s Sunday Night program revealing her face, which had been covered for two years and eight months. From this moment, she became a recognisable figure of survival worldwide and has used this profile as a platform to speak out and reach those in need of encouragement and inspiration.
Dana has discovered a new zest for life and wants to inspire others with her own miraculous story of survival. She is living proof that beauty does come from within and she hopes her message motivates those facing adversity, including those who are victims of injury, violence and disfigurement, those battling cancer and those battling their own demons.
Perth-based Dana has now reset her path and is living proof that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. She has found great success as not only a motivational and corporate keynote speaker but an author. Her book ‘Worth Fighting For,’ was published in 2017, to rave reviews. In 2018, Dana was named The Most Inspiring Woman of The Year, at the WA Soulful awards, for the way she has rebounded against tremendous odds and is now helping bring out the best in others.
Dana completed her 3rd degree, a Master’s of Science, specialising in Nursing, in January 2021, and is now authorised to practice by the Australian Health Practitioners Registration Agency (AHPRA). 2020 was a special year in the health industry and as a Masters student, Dana had a unique learning opportunities around infection control, and was able to complete her final year of her Masters hospital rotations during the COVID19 pandemic. She now plans to use her degree to specialise in cosmetics and disfigurements by completing an Advanced Certificate of Cosmetic Nursing, an Advanced Neurotoxin and Dermal Filler course. She has trained and completed several cosmetic and paramedical tattooing courses with multiple academies. Paramedical procedures, including micropigmentation, are a non-surgical solution that can help patients and trauma survivors feel whole again. Dana wants to help burns survivors, breast cancer survivors, and people looking for scar camouflage in any way shape or form, by providing a space that they will feel safe in visiting but assured through her experience and education.
Disfigurements aside, Dana will open her doors to everyone, as she firmly believes we all deserve to feel our best, without judgment. Hailed globally for making one of the biggest burns recoveries/transformations ever documented, Dana will continue to use her platforms to provide hope to other survivors, showing what is achievable when hard work is coupled with tenacity.
In August 2021 Dana Vulin opened up her clinic I am D aesthetics. I am D aesthetics stands for I am Deserving Aesthetics! As does Dana’s belief that everybody deserves to feel their best. No matter of race, age, gender or physical differences whether it be caused by experiences in life or mother-nature. The company was founded on Dana’s desire (and her right) to still want feel and be the best version of herself. As a woman and a person, despite the physical changes unwillingly made upon her in the attack of 2012. Also, her knowledge as someone who has been documented around the world as making one of the greatest burns recoveries/transformations in history and thus far. Combining her experiences in this astronomical recovery, her multiple University degrees and vast different courses completed from all over the globe she has acquired a wealth of knowledge and techniques that set her aside from the rest. This level of understanding and experience of facial restoration and scaring is something that cannot be taught in a text-book, nor does Dana wish this style of education for anybody. It does however set her aside from the rest. Especially when it comes to understanding, empathising and advocating for her clients.