22-year-old Katie Stubblefield has successfully had a full face transplant after she lost most of her face in an attempted suicide when she was 18.
Katie shot herself in the face in March 2014 after her parents lost their jobs and her boyfriend left her for another girl. Doctors said she would not survive but she did, though her face became deformed.
Katie before and after face transplant
She recently had a full face transplant surgery where her face was replaced with that of a registered donor named Andrea Schneider, 31, who died of a drug overdose.
Andrea, the face donor
The surgery was successful, making her the youngest person ever to receive a full face transplant.
Katie Stubblefield has now spoken candidly about the operation, which means she can now breathe, chew and swallow unaided. She hopes her story will inspire others not to try to end their lives.
Speaking to National Geographic , who have made a documentary on her ordeal, Katie said: “I am able to touch my face now, and it feels amazing.”
And she continued: “Life is precious, and life is beautiful.”
She attempted to take her own life in her older brother’s bathroom at his home in Mississippi, and was rushed to hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.
Her brother Robert told the magazine that when he ran to her aid, “her face was gone”.
She had 22 operations before becoming the youngest person ever to undergo a facial transplant in the US at the age of 21 last year. She is the 40th person in the world to be given a face transplant.