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Stubblefield family photo-Katie Stubblefield, 17, 8 months before attempting suicide.

At 21, she received a transplant at the Cleveland Clinic, making her the youngest person in the U.S.to receive a face transplant.

She underwent surgery for chronic gastrointestinal problems, and she faced betrayal in a personal relationship. She underwent physical therapy but still needed help eating, because she didn't have lips. The nerves connecting her brain to the newly introduced facial muscles are still growing, so she struggles to move many features.

Katie Stubblefield was just 18 when she put the barrel of her brother's.308-caliber hunting rifle below her chin and pulled the trigger.

Katie Stubblefield says she doesn't remember much about the day in March 2014.

Yet overall, the young woman's story is one of rousing success in the field of cutting-edge medicine and of the unbelievable human connections formed between physicians and patients.

The 31-hour-surgery gave Katie Stubblefield a new face after a year wait for a donor, where they availed organ of 31-year-old slain Andrea Schneider, after the family of the donor chose to help.

"I am able to touch my face now, and it feels incredible", she said. Since then, doctors have performed 39 face transplants. They took Katie to eat at restaurants despite the looks and comments she'd receive, spent time with her outside and celebrated her birthday. A tissue graft from her abdomen had been performed by physicians in Memphis, Tennessee, where she was transferred after receiving emergency care in her home state of MS, but this attempt to cover the gaping wound on her face had failed.

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Her surgery will help doctors advance the field of face transplantation, helping to make the treatment more commonplace and, perhaps, push insurance companies, as well as the government, to assist victims with the cost.

The surgery was performed at the Cleveland Clinic in OH in May and paid for by the US Department of Defence through the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine. "That's number one, but beyond that, I'd like her to have some level of normalcy". She hopes to go to college and eventually find a career in counselling and motivational speaking.

"If by sharing her story, Katie could empower one person, debunk one myth about suicide, or most of all prevent one suicide she will have achieved her goal", said the page.

Globally, close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year, which is about one person every 40 seconds, according to the World Health Organization.

The U.S. has seen an increased rate of suicide in recent years.

As young students across the country fight gun violence by mobilizing their friends, families, and the nation, suicide is part of the conversation as guns are most commonly used to commit suicide.

"I'm definitely taking many, many daily steps".

Among young people, "I think we do a pretty decent job of educating them about sex and about drinking and driving", but education around suicide prevention is lacking, Alesia said.


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