It’s been nearly five years since he received a face transplant but, now, Mitchell Hunter is breaking the silence about his new life after his groundbreaking surgery.
“I feel just as healthy as I did when I was 21, and I feel great,” Hunter said in an interview with WISH. “It’s a lot easier going out in public. I don’t get the stares. I’m just another face in the crowd, and that’s all I ever wanted.”
Hunter suffered significant injuries in a 2001 car accident, in which he was zapped for about five minutes with 10,000 volts of electricity.
The shock cost him his leg and face.
Although a terrible accident, Hunter doesn’t dwell on the negative effects.
“I look back on it as something that made me stronger,” he said. “I mean, yeah, I would like to have my leg and my face back but, without that happening, I wouldn’t be who I am today.”
Hunter, now 35, is the second full-face transplant recipient in the United States.
The 14-hour surgery in 2011 gave Hunter a nose, eyelids and facial animation muscles and nerves.
He can even feel sensation in his skin.
“Hot, cold, pain, tickle, rubbing my beard, someone kissing my face – I can feel everything,” Hunter said. “It was amazing, just having sensation like that come back.”
In addition to gaining back his sensation, Hunter has been able to live a normal life again.
He goes to work every day and takes his children to the movies.
“It feels great. It feels normal,” he said. “When I leave the house, it’s just a normal routine. I get up, take a shower, get my car keys, leave, go to the store. It feels nice being a regular human being and having a 9 to 5 job, waking up just like the next guy and going to work.”
Hunter is thankful for the success of his surgery, and he encourages others to consider being a face transplant donor.
“It’s going to give another person, another human being a better quality of life,” he said. “It’s just knowing someone else in this world is living a better life because of a choice you made. I think that makes it worth it.”