LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — She was a household name in the early 90s and now Mary Jo Buttafuoco is lending her support to a newly-formed Las Vegas group which hopes to raise awareness of traumatic brain injuries and brain tumors.
"In my case, it wasn't the same with the traumatic brain injury, I had a concussion after I was shot," said Buttafuoco.
In 1992, Buttafuoco was shot by her then-husband's underage mistress, Amy Fisher.
Buttafuoco was shot in the face and was left with permanent facial paralysis.
Nearly 30 years later, Buttafuoco is serving as an inspiration for others who are struggling with traumatic brain injuries and tumors.
"Some days you just wanna pull your hair out of your head and give up, but you say all right, I got down as low as I can and I got to get up and just keep on going again," said Buttafuoco.
The Las Vegas Brain Tumor & Traumatic Injury Support Group hosted Buttafuoco at their monthly meeting, Wednesday.
"A lot of people don't know because when you have a brain injury, you look great," said group founder and organizer Michelle Mendoza.
"What people need to do is to have more understanding and patience and kindness and I wish I had found a group like this years ago," added Mendoza.
Mendonza's 15 year old son, Charlie, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2013 and still struggles with the lasting effects.
"I wanted to meet other caretakers that are dealing with the situation I was dealing with as a caretaker and I wanted Charlie to meet other people who were dealing with his struggles and people who have a brain injury," added Mendoza.
Mendonza says the small group started meeting in September and she hopes more people come forward to share their experiences so they don't have to suffer in silence, or alone.
The meetings include tips and advice from experts on a variety of topics.