KIPS BAY, Manhattan –
He is one of the youngest recipients of facial grafts in the world and one of the fastest recovering.
Cameron Underwood, 26, of Northern California, has just undergone a radical transformation 18 months after he nearly killed himself.
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Underwood, who was struggling with depression, had a gun under his chin and pulled the trigger.
He did not think Eduardo Rodriguez was doing a face transplant, where Cam, as he is called, got a completely new face.
It was a second chance face that he says he still feels like he does.
"When you look in the mirror, you usually look each other in the eye," he said. "And my eyes are the same."
The remarkable family of a donor, a 23-year-old New Yorker named Will Fisher, who had lost his life to a mental illness, became known.
The connection to Dr Rodriguez was not made until Cam's mother happened to pick up a magazine and read about it. Then she reached out her hand.
"I think people should not feel that there is no hope," Dr. Rodriguez. "It should not lead to isolation, it should not lead to seclusion."
Underwood still returns monthly for follow-up appointments, and he maintains a strict regime of anti-rejection drugs for the rest of his life.
The big hurdles are over and Cam is reaching new heights and proving that second chances can change life forever.
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