When she was only three months old, Amanda Scarpinati sustained severe burns to her head and hands.
For several subsequent years, she had to experience bullying because of the disfigurement the burns had caused. She would look at photos, of a nurse cradling her in her arms, that helped her during the tumultuous years, as reported by the Associated Press. “I’d look at those pictures and talk to her, even though I didn’t know who she was. I took comfort looking at this woman who seemed so sincere caring for me,” she said. The same pictures also featured on the cover of the 1977 Albany Medical Center annual report.
Scarpinati started searching for the nurse in the photograph through a social media campaign. She took to Facebook, writing a message accompanying the picture that said, “I tried almost 20 years ago to find out who the nurse is holding me but had no luck. Maybe now with the powers of social media someone will recognize her.” After the picture was shared and passed around several times, a former Albany Medical Center nurse, Angela Leary, sent Scarpinati a message wherein she said the nurse in the picture was Susan Berger. Leary wrote in the message that Berger is “as sweet and caring as she looks in this picture.”
“I was so stunned,” Berger said, as reported by ABC News. “I was just speechless and to think that someone would have thought about it all those years and to have saved the photo, as I did myself.”
She further said that she remembered Scarpinati as a child. “She was such an unusual baby in terms of being so calm and not crying,” Berger said. “She must have been in pain and she was so trusting and just a beautiful baby.”
After speaking to each other on the phone, the two met at the Albany Medical Center. “It was wonderful, it was so good to hear her voice [on the phone] and have her explain emotionally where she was coming from,” Berger said.
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