While Maggie Steber, a photographer who has spent the last two years documenting Katie's journey, praised her parents Robb and Alesia Stubblefield.
"I am able to touch my face now, and it feels unbelievable", said Ms Stubblefield, who still has some difficulty speaking clearly. She said, "They weren't going to wait for me, and why should they?" She was transferred to the Cleveland Clinic with the hopes of an eventual face transplant. She has said that she doesn't remember much of that year - including being hospitalized in Oxford, Mississippi; being flown to another hospital in Memphis, Tennessee; and then being transferred to Cleveland Clinic in OH, where she would undergo her face transplantation three years later.
DISTRESSING CONTENT A 21-year-old woman has become the youngest person in the United States to receive a face transplant after a suicide attempt three years earlier.
"That's number one, but beyond that, I'd like her to have some level of normalcy", he said.
Plastic surgeon Dr Brian Gastman, the first clinic doctor to see Katie and the man who would go on to lead her transplant procedure, recalled to NatGeo that he was initially only concerned with stabilizing Katie, and he anxious that even if that went to plan, there wouldn't be enough tissue available for corrective surgeries due to her small size. We're so happy to report that the transplant was successful - what a miracle!
She hopes to speak to teenagers about suicide prevention, echoing what she told CNN: "Life is precious, and life is handsome".
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As Katie Stubblefield brushed her fingers across her face, she could feel the wound.
"I felt so guilty that I had put my family through such pain".
"In addition to finding a place to rent and cover basic essentials, their family will need additional funds to continue Katie's much needed extra therapies and training, not covered by insurance or the Department of Defense", read the page.
In 2017, it was decided that Stubblefield would undergo a face transplant. "I felt frightful", Katie said in the interview.
A surgeon eventually suggested the family consider a face transplant - a procedure they'd never heard of. "Now I want to help other people". And now Katie has a mission in her life.
"When my parents helped explain everything to me, I was very excited to get a face again and to have function again", she said. "This surgery can give her back the self-esteem and confidence she lost".
Katie's new face was donated by the family of Adrea Schneider, a 31-year-old mother-of-one who who died as the result of a drug overdose. She hopes to raise awareness about suicide and suicide prevention. "With a new nose, lips, palate, eyelids and jaw, she now has the full opportunity to re-integrate into society and have a future just like any other young adult".