March 25th, 2014 was the day when the life of Katie Stubblefield and her family changed forever. Katie’s mother, Alesia Stubblefield, described Katie as an old soul child. She used to stay at home with her family, and spending time watching TV shows. Her older sister, Olivia McCay, described her as fearless and a lot of fun. When Katie was in high school, her family moved from Lakeland, Florida to Owensboro, Kentucky. She just settled there, when they moved again to Oxford, Mississipi. Katie enrolled as a junior and fell in love with her classmate. The affair was so intense that soon they started talking about marriage.
Katie was in her final year in High School when her life changed entirely. She was going through chronic gastrointestinal troubles and surgery. Her appendix was taken a year earlier, and due to complications, her gallbladder was also removed. On March 25th, 2014, she found texts of some other girl in his boyfriend’s phone. When she confronted him, the guy broke up with her. Katie was angry and hurt and went to her elder brother’s place. Robert, Katie’s brother, told that she was furious and was texting. He called their mother, and while the two of them were discussing the whole matter, Katie went into the bathroom, put her brother’s hunting rifle below her chin and pulled the trigger.
When Robert found her in the bathroom, she was completely covered in blood. He said, “And her face is gone.” The bullet didn’t kill Katie but took a part of her forehead, nose, sinuses, mouth, the bones that make up the jaws and the front of her face. Her eyes were severely damaged too. When she was taken to the hospital, the doctors were not sure if she will survive. Her brain was damaged and exposed and could have caused all kind of seizures and infections.
Katie was 21 when she was put on the facial transplant recipient list, hence making her the youngest candidate for the surgery. Since March 18th, 2016, she was officially on the face transplant list. She finally found a donor in May 2017, and her surgery was scheduled. The surgery was not the end of it but the beginning of a new chapter. After the surgery, she stayed at the hospital for a month, and there was no chance of nerve recovery for at least six months. According to doctors, it would take two years before true stability can be seen in her.