Shooting Victim Heather Grossman Helps Others See Beyond Life’s Struggles

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Heather with President Bush

After showing a brief video clip from Dateline’s coverage of Heather Grossman’s extreme story of domestic violence and survival, Ms. Grossman graced the NRU Community stage at the August College. She offered these simple words with immense meaning: “My name is Heather Grossman and I’m here to motivate you!”

On October 14, 1997, a bullet tore through Heather Grossman’s neck leaving her paralyzed, breathing on a ventilator, and requiring 24-hour nursing care. After 10 years of living in fear of her first ex-husband, Ron Samuels, at last justice prevailed, as Ron Samuels was found guilty of hiring hit men to kill his ex-wife. What could motivate a person to do such a thing, you might ask? According to Heather Grossman, her ex-husband sought custody of their three children after she remarried in 1997 to John Grossman. Although Mr. Samuels denied the charges, the pressing evidence and testimony from the hit men, who exchanged testimony for their freedom, was enough to sentence him to life in jail.

A survivor of domestic violence in both her first and second marriages, overcoming the odds, striving to meet the challenging financial needs for her care, finding purpose in her life, and helping others to find the value in their own lives, Heather Grossman motivates countless individuals. Today, she raises her three children, speaks out against domestic violence, helping others to see the richness in their lives and a way out of domestic violence, and mentors newly injured spinal cord patients. She also serves as a consultant to the Justice Department Office for Victims of Crime and is the founder of Heather’s Haven of Hope, a foundation dedicated to helping people of domestic violence and people with disabilities. Through the foundation, Ms. Grossman hopes to build a domestic violence resource center to reach beyond the basic need of shelter by providing additional services and assistance such as dental, pediatric, clothing, counseling, parenting and social skills, job placement, tools to help victims support themselves and their children, and offer protection to victims so that they won’t fear living everyday. Ms. Grossman says that everyday we hear of the growing domestic violence issues and “if people don’t do something [about domestic violence], nothing is going to change.”

A source of immense strength and inspiration, Heather Grossman is the reigning Ms. Wheelchair Arizona. She also won first-runner up and the Achievement Award in the Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant, where she was the first contestant ever to compete who was fully disabled on life support.

Recently, her amazing achievements and cause were recognized by the United States President himself. Ms. Grossman was nominated by Senator Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., to meet with President Bush at the Oval Office in Washington, D.C. on November 6, 2007. When one of her nurses was unable to assist her in her trek to the White House, Nouveau Riche CEO Jim Piccolo provided the financial support to enable her parents to attend. She says “never in my life did I ever think I would meet the President of the United States.” During this meeting, she and her family spent 30 minutes in the Oval Office, where Ms. Grossman discussed Heather’s Haven of Hope and her “hope to save lives” as well as areas of funding for victims of crime. According to Ms. Grossman, the President told her how proud he is of her and what she has accomplished in her life, and to keep doing the good work.

Ms. Grossman expresses her gratitude to the people who support what she has to say and how she can motivate others. She says “it’s an honor to have people care so deeply about what I am doing and my purpose.” Heather Grossman offers these words of wisdom and inspiration:

“Enjoy every moment in your life. There’s a reason to smile. Find it. After all, we’re just lucky to be alive. Waking up with a positive attitude everyday can really change and influence your life. Many people do not realize just how many blessings they have in their lives…don’t focus on the negativity. View every situation as an opportunity to learn and grow…Many of life’s failures are because you give up before you reach success when you don’t know just how close you are to achieving it… Sometimes we’re faced with challenges we need to rise above…Make the most of your life...”

To view Dateline’s coverage of Heather Grossman’s journey, which aired on July 30, 2007 and was posted on MSNBC on July 31, 2007, visit

How You Can Help

Heather Grossman's ex-husband hired a man to kill her in 1997. He was not successful in his attempt to take her life, but the gunshot wound left Heather paralyzed from the neck down. Heather was just 31 years old with three young children. During the years since the incident, Heather's family has been doing everything they can to keep her alive and well, but expenses are high, and they need as much help as they can get.

Since Heather's new website launched on September 21 with the Paypal Donation Options, Heather's family has received donations from quite a few generous people. Please take a moment to see who has donated to Heather's family so far.
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