New Look: Blind Mom Gets Prosthetic Face

Woman blinded in gun accident dreamt of raising son without having to wear mask.

ByABC News
April 21, 2010, 11:53 AM

July 15, 2010 — -- For the past 11 years, Chrissy Steltz had been living without a face.

After an accident with a shotgun destroyed her face and left her blind, Steltz made incredible strides toward living a normal life. She learned to read Braille and use a cane. She met her boyfriend in a school for the blind. And she gave birth to a son on July 23, 2009.

Despite her full life, there was still one thing that Steltz felt she was missing: a face for her young son to look into. To cover her injuries, the 27-year-old wore a black sleeping mask.

Now, with the help of a team of generous doctors and advances in technology, Steltz finally has been given a new prosthetic face. Doctors used photographs of her at 16 and aged her features to reflect the 11 years that have passed since the accident.

Steltz believed the prosthesis would make her feel better about herself. Despite her blindness, she always has been able to feel the stares of others.

But more important to her than self-confidence, Steltz said she wanted the prosthesis "so my son can grow to know his mom looking like a regular person versus a sleep shade."

In March 1999, Steltz and her live-in boyfriend, Will O'Brien, threw a party at their home, where some of their friends were drinking. Someone found a stolen shotgun under the sofa and began to fool around with it.

The last thing Steltz would hear before the blast went off was, "Oh, don't worry. It isn't loaded."

The gun went off and took two-thirds of Steltz's face with it.

CLICK HERE to see photos of Chrissy Stelz before and after the accident