On February 16, 2012, Dana Vulin climbed into bed as she did on every other ordinary night. After all, at that point, it was an ordinary night for the 25-year-old, who lived alone in an apartment complex in Perth, Australia.
The blonde beauty was completely oblivious to the sinister events that would take place only hours later when she was dragged from her bed by two strangers who had broken into her house. At least, to Dana they were strangers.
But, in reality, Natalie Dimitrovska and her accomplice, Daniel Stone, were well acquainted with Dana, who they’d stalked for months.
Natalie had become obsessed with Dana after she witnessed her estranged husband innocently talking to her at a party. Consumed by jealousy, she assumed that the pair were having an intimate relationship.
Furious that Dana would share a romantic connection with her husband, Natalie followed her for months, leaving her threatening messages. “You’re dead, bi**h,” she hissed in one call where she vowed to ruin Dana’s “pretty little face”.
Despite claiming to have reunited with her husband, Natalie continued to stalk Dana. On February 15, she burst into Dana’s apartment in search of her husband who was not there.
Then, the following night, high on amphetamines, she broke into Dana’s flat through the balcony where she launched her sickening attack – an attack which tragically left Dana unrecognizable.
Natalie, with Daniel in tow, set about dousing Dana’s body in methylated spirits. The corrosive substances stung Dana’s exposed skin, prompting her to beg for them to stop. But they didn’t. Instead, Natalie set fire to her as she laughed hysterically.
Once Dana’s body was burning, Natalie and Daniel escaped the property, leaving their victim to writhe in agony.
“The pain was excruciating, but through my screaming, I could hear Natalie and Daniel making their escape through the sliding door. They were laughing at me while I burned alive,” Dana wrote in her book, Worth Fighting For.
Desperate, she tried to extinguish the flames with water from the tap, but it wasn’t enough. Blind with panic, she ran into the corridor to alert her neighbors to her situation, but tragically nobody was home.
Screaming in pain, Dana crumpled to the floor as the flames began to subside, having already consumed the majority of her flesh. It was then that a man appeared, having heard her cries from the gym across the road.
He immediately called the emergency services, staying with her until an ambulance arrived.
For ten days Dana stayed in a coma, before waking to the sound of her sister singing Whitney Houston’s ‘Step By Step‘.
Meanwhile, Natalie had dyed her hair and attempted to flee to Macedonia, only to be arrested at Perth airport. She has since been sentenced to 17 years in jail for the horrific crime she committed.
While Dana survived the attack, she was left with third-degree burns on 64 percent of her body.
However, rather than succumb to the intense depression that threatened to consume her, Dana worked tirelessly to regain the strength she once had in abundance. Despite the excruciating pain, Dana slowly recovered.
“The first few years after the attack were the most difficult period in Dana’s life,” a biographer wrote on her website. “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.”
For two years she wore a compression mask on her face in order to repair her sore skin.
“It helped to shape the face, and the pressure was so tight it helped flatten and massage the face and try to keep it from going inside out,” she explained of the mask, which she intensely disliked. “I would have rather endured physical pain than wear that mask.”
However, she did wear the mask, removing it live on Channel Seven’s Sunday Night so that the world could see her new face. “No one thought it was physically possible [to recover so much],” she told Daily Mail Australia.
Dana is pictured above and below after the attack.
But just when she thought it wasn’t possible to receive any more bad news, her doctors revealed something heartbreaking. Following a routine pap smear at the end of 2013, it was discovered that she had cervical cancer.
For 27-year-old Dana, this meant she was to endure even more surgeries and mental hurdles.
“Dana has fought blood tears and unimaginable pain to be where she is today – ALIVE,” her biographer continued. “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.”
Now at 31 years old, Dana is an inspiration to people across the globe, but she is only just getting started!
Feeling emotional having read about Dana’s miraculous recovery? This video may just tip you over the edge. Watch as an orangutan asks a burns victim to remove her surgical plasters…
We wish Dana all the best with her future and continued recovery.