A reckless decision made her unrecognizable. In just one moment, this beautiful, cheerful girl had to fight for her life.
Katie, the girl who survived a suicide attempt, was 18 years old when she impulsively decided to take her brother’s handgun and shoot herself in the face.
That one moment of despair changed her life and the lives of her family forever. Now she is sharing her story to help others.
Katie was always very successful, aspired to great things, and easily overcame all obstacles. Her parents described her as a “motivated” child who always worked hard and never caved to pressure.
But the sudden breakup with her boyfriend and the anxiety of going to college were too much for Katie.
Katie shared that at the time she had no selfish thoughts but made an “impulsive decision.”
The bullet missed her brain but did irreparable damage to her face. Not only was the news bleak, but Katie’s father, Rob, shared the doctor’s negative prognosis:
“She will never eat, she will never drink, she will never be able to bathe, she will never speak, she will be a “plant,” and she will simply have to spend the rest of her life in a special institution.”
At that point, Rob decided he didn’t want to give up on his daughter. He knew he was ready to fight to survive.
Katie got a second chance.
When Katie woke up and realized she had survived the suicide attempt, she couldn’t believe what she had done.
“I completely remember what I had done. I thought, ‘How could I do this to myself,’ but most importantly, ‘How could I do this to my family,'” Katie shared.
The doctors managed to reconstruct part of her face and recommended her as an ideal candidate for a face transplant.
“It was an opportunity to one day have my character and my life again… It was a very difficult decision for me because I knew someone would have to die to have that character.”
Katie’s donor was Andre, who died of a cocaine overdose. Three years and 22 surgeries later, Katie was called for a transplant.
Throughout her entire situation, she struggled to stay positive. In her hospital bed, she shared that she felt it was “the beginning of a new chapter”.
It took 11 surgeons and a day and a half to successfully perform the operation.
Although Katie now looks nothing like the child her parents once knew, she is still the same determined girl who uses her experience to help others.
“Life is a wonderful gift, and I’m grateful to be given a second chance to live it,” said Katie, “Many people have helped me, and now I want to help other people.”