Woman Receives a New Face After Gunshot Accident

Woman Receives a New Face After Gunshot Accident

She is the woman behind the mask.  Chrissy Steltz was pretty and popular with a straight A average, and a future as bright as her blue green eyes.  Then, a horrific shotgun accident changed her life forever.

She was left blind, without eyes or a nose, after she was shot in the face by a friend playing with a gun at a party.  It was a miracle that she even survived the blast.  X-rays show bullet fragments that, to this day, remain lodged in Chrissy's brain.

But Chrissy didn't just live, she refused to give up, even without a face.  Remarkably, she went right back to high school, and graduated with the rest of her class.  She even went to her senior prom, wearing a white face mask.

She got married to a man she met at a school for the blind, and together they had a little baby boy named Geoffrey.  A hands on mom, Chrissy plays with her adorable son, who she has never seen. 

But everyday for 11 years, Chrissy hid her ravaged face behind a black sleeping mask.  Now, more than a decade after the accidental shooting disfigured her, a dream is coming true for Chrissy.  She is getting a new face.

Its been a long and difficult road to get to this point.  A team of doctors from around the country have been preparing for her transformation, and Chrissy has had to endure dozens of surgeries where bones and skin from her leg were used to rebuild the structure of her shattered face.  Eight titanium screws have been implanted into bones around Chrissy's vacant eye sockets. The screws will connect to magnets placed in a custom made prosthetic.

Finally, the big day has arrived.  Chrissy takes off the sleep mask in anticipation for this moment, and her silicon eyes and nose are snapped into place.  It's carefully bonded to her skin with Vaseline.

Her family members are filled with joy seeing Chrissy's incredibly lifelike face unveiled for the first time. And her husband tenderly touches his wife's new eyes and nose.

"I think a prosthetic can make me personally feel like a regular plain Jane again," said Chrissy.

Today, life is back to normal for this busy mom.  From afar, Chrissy looks just like any other mother playing with her son in the park.

Chrissy said, "There were times I could definitely feel people's eyes staring at me.  So I don't need to worry about people looking at me and noticing me for the sleep shade, I can know that they're looking at me and noticing me for who I am."

Chrissy showed INSIDE EDITION how she cares for her new face, taking off the prosthetic and cleaning it in a container of water.

Chrissy said, "You want to wash the inside of it off so that you can make sure that you get anything stuck off.  And once it's washed, you just pour out the water and dry it with a towel."

Despite the painful memories from the past, Chrissy says the future is sunny.  And while she'll never see her new face, she's thrilled to have beautiful blue eyes for her son to look into.

"I feel like it will make my son know that his mom is just as individual and just as regular as everybody else," said Chrissy.