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Picture of Dr. Penny and her sister Alice

Alice Marie Rebstad

The story behind my passion has to do with my younger sister, Alice. She was born in 1953 with a birthmark on the left side of her face. When she was just days old she scratched her face and the birthmark became infected. The infection spread over the entire left side of her head, face, neck and mouth. It melted her left ear and eyelid off, and ate her top lip off three different times.

The doctors had to stop the spreading of this infection, so they gave Alice radiation treatments 10 min at a time, several times a day. The radiation did stop the spreading of the infection, but it also damaged her brain. She is unable to read or write because of it.

Because of the brain damage and all the other health problems that Alice had, the doctors encouraged my parents to put her in a facility for the mentally retarded. They told us that she would never amount to much. So they put their name on a waiting list. When it was time to put Alice in the home my parents said that they had prayed and decided to take her home, if nothing else they could LOVE her”. I was three and my other sister was five years old when they brought Alice home from the hospital.

We knew that we had a baby sister, but mom wouldn’t let us see her face because she was afraid we would have nightmares. So every time mom needed to change the bandages on Alice’s face she would go into the nursery and close the door.


One-day mom didn’t close the door all the way, so my older sister & I went in. I was just tall enough to peek over the top of the bassinet and when I saw my little sister for the first time I said “Isn’t she beautiful”. Tears started running down my mom’s face and she vowed to never hide Alice from people again.

Alice is now 63 yrs. old. She lives in a group home and loves it. The challenges and experiences of growing up with Alice has opened the door to my passion of wanting to help those who can’t help themselves, love those who are hurting, and bring them honor. Alice is the heart behind the creation of “Challenged Champions and Heroes” for me.

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