He received severe burns while attempting to save a woman trapped in a fire.

Patrick Hardison, a Mississippian, has an extraordinary life story. This man became the first person to have a face transplant in America in 2015 after a house fire left his face and neck permanently scarred.

Prior to that tragic day in 2001, Patrick’s life was perfect.

He had previously offered his services as a volunteer firefighter, so when asked to help put out a house fire, he didn’t think twice. He was trapped when it collapsed just as he entered the burning section. He was unable to move because of the serious burns on his face and chest.

Jimmy Neal, a friend and first responder, said of meeting Patrick after the disaster, “For someone who does what we do for a living, I’ve never seen someone that badly burned and still alive.”

Patrick had significant burns on his face and scalp. He also had burns on his head, neck, and upper chest. His ears, lips, the majority of his nose, and even the majority of the tissue in his eyelids were all destroyed by the fire.

Probably not until November did I realize who I was. According to Patrick, I was hurt in September, Fox News reported. “Since they had covered everything with a skin graft, they had cut a tiny pinhole in one of my eyes.” I regarded myself in the mirror and pondered, “Is this it?” It was “I can’t do it,” he recalled.

Over the years, this man had to endure more than 70 surgeries and various procedures. He was unable to cover his eyes, and physicians were able to sew skin flaps together to protect his vision, but he was still in danger of going blind.

Patrick was unable to eat because of his acute agony. He was unable to adjust to his new life since he was unable to see himself in the mirror. Everywhere he went, people were staring at him, and he couldn’t handle being around anybody, not even his kids.

To shield himself and blend in, Patrick frequently wore a baseball cap and sunglasses. He also wears fake ears. “I was a parent.” Just a terrible time, that’s all. Due to the injury, I never took a day off. When you stepped out in public, it happened every day. Furthermore, he told Yahoo! Sports, “There’s no way to explain anything.

“You have to prepare yourself for the kid who runs away screaming when you go to the baseball field.”

Patrick eventually gave up on ever leading a normal life as the years went by. But a Frenchwoman named Isabelle Dinoire received a partial face transplant after her pet dog seriously deformed her face. This process was ground-breaking. The first of its type, it was. Patrick, who was in fact having trouble, undoubtedly got a glimmer of optimism from it.

Patrick called Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez of the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, who informed him that the transplant procedure would be carried out provided a suitable donor could be found. It wasn’t always simple, but one day a donor just showed up. A link had been established.

After being diagnosed as brain dead from a severe head injury sustained in a bicycle accident, David Rodebaugh, 26, was about to get on Patrick’s bike.

The young man’s mother, Nancy Millar, decided to donate his organs, including his face. “You better spare his face,” I advised him. He is a donor; we had discussed that. He has a porcelain doll’s face,” Millar said.

David would live on via the individuals whose lives he was about to save, including Patrick’s, because the possibility of someone inheriting her son’s visage meant that David would live on through them.

Nancy recalled, “When I met Patrick, I saw in him this power, this macho, burly kind of vitality that David had.”

David wanted to be a firefighter, and I understood that if this man had that strength, he would be one who would risk his life to enter a burning building in order to save others.

Finally, the transplantation day had come. The surgery, which took place over the course of 26 arduous hours, was performed by a team of 100 doctors.

Patrick was given a 50/50 chance of surviving due to the high danger. Fortunately, it was a huge success. Patrick underwent replacements for his face, scalp, ears, and ear canals. Additionally, he developed eyelids that allowed him to blink frequently without impairing his vision.

Everything in life is dangerous, as Patrick noted.

“When it’s your time to go, you’ll go,” the saying goes, “whether you’re walking down the street and get hit by a car or lying on the operating table.”

When the swelling subsided and Patrick was able to speak and swallow again, he met the mother of his donor. Patrick merely wanted to kiss Nancy on the cheek.

I requested permission to kiss your brow. said Nancy. Since I used to kiss David’s forehead every night before he went to bed when he was a baby, that is all I wanted to do.

“I’m just thankful,” Patrick said, “I’ve been looking forward to meeting her for a year. Without her, it wouldn’t have been possible. She seems like a part of the family. It was a straightforward link.

Although Patrick has been taking anti-rejection medications since the surgery to stop his immune system from rejecting the face, he has been doing well. He not only changed his appearance, but also his way of life.

He’s going through a divorce right now, and he’s writing a book that he hopes would encourage anyone who thinks there’s no way out of their current predicament. “Because I want to show the world there is hope,” the speaker said. I don’t want those who were in my position in the past to believe that this is how I must live forever. Not at all, no. “You can do anything,” Patrick affirms.

His recovery and survival have been hailed as miracles. Because of Nancy, Dr. Rodriguez and his staff, as well as his tenacious resolve, Patrick is a happy man today.

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