Trigger warning: Graphic photos and details of a suicide attempt are included in this story. Viewer discretion is advised.
In March of 2014, in the wake of a painful break-up, a distraught 18-year-old Katie Stubblefield attempted to take her own life. According to National Geographic, she put her brother's .308-caliber rifle beneath her chin and fired, causing her to lose her nose, parts of her mouth and forehead. Astonishingly, she survived, but her face was forever changed.
After two years, Stubblefield was put on a waiting list for a face transplant -- and in 2017, she received a phone call telling her that a donor had been found. 31-year-old Adrea Schneider had died tragically as a result of a drug overdose; but as an organ donor, her death would give Stubblefield [and many others] a new lease on life.
The surgery, which took place in May of 2017, took 31 hours to complete and made Katie the youngest face transplant recipient in U.S. history.
You can read more about Katie's journey below, but once again, be aware that many photos are of the actual surgery and are graphic in nature.
If you or someone you know is contemplating thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.