Army veteran waits for face transplant

Mitch Hunter (Source: CNN)
Mitch Hunter (Source: CNN)

INDIANAPOLIS (CNN) - Ten years ago, an Indiana man's life was changed forever after he rescued a woman from a car crash, but was himself severely disfigured.

For a decade, he's dreamt of being whole again. And he could soon get his chance, after being approved for face transplant surgery.

"I'm a little nervous, anxious," Mitch Hunter said.

Formerly Pvt. Hunter, a young American soldier, Hunter's life changed in a flash in 2001 when he pushed a woman involved in a car wreck off of a live power line and took 10,000 volts and seven amps of electricity through his body for five minutes.

Hunter already has two prosthetic pieces, his nose and his leg, but now he has the chance for a new face.

"Every time my phone rings I always check the area code," Hunter said. "If it's 617, then I know that's probably going to be the phone call."

He's waiting on a call from Boston.

His doctor is located at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, which is one of only two centers in the U.S approved to perform a face transplant.

Hunter said he just wants to live a normal life, especially around kids.

"I just don't want them to think that I'm the boogey man or something, and you know that's sometimes probably what they think," Hunter said.

Now many know his story. Many know that he is waiting to change his life. He knows what he is waiting for. He is waiting for a man, his age, matching his facial structure to pass.

That young man is alive today.

"That kind of makes me feel bad," Hunter said. "I don't want to wait for someone to pass away for it to happen, but if that person is willing to donate the skin to do it, they obviously that person has a good heart and wants someone to have a better life."

Once he gets that call, Mitch may be in Boston for more than a year. But first, they must find a donor. It's a search that could take months.

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