Donnie Fritts

Donnie Fritts

An American who lost his face due to cancer
Country: USA

  1. Donnie Fritts: A Man Who Lost His Face to Cancer
  2. A Life Forever Changed
  3. A Battle Against the Odds
  4. A New Hope
  5. Challenges and Resilience

Donnie Fritts: A Man Who Lost His Face to Cancer

Donnie Fritts, an American man, lost half of his face due to a rare form of cancer. In 2002, Donnie, who had just married his beloved Sharon, believed that his life would be a fairytale. Unfortunately, it turned out differently for him. Donnie's nose began to swell due to a strange tumor. Soon, his nose resembled a large potato, and nothing could be done about it. The doctors diagnosed him with ameloblastic carcinoma, an extremely rare and aggressive form of cancer that destroys all types of tissues. Donnie was faced with a difficult choice - his face or his life. Donnie chose the latter.

Donnie Fritts

A Life Forever Changed

Donnie recalls how the doctors gave him a mere 2.5% chance of survival, but he remained hopeful. His wife Sharon also believed in him, even though her life turned into a nightmare as well. The 12-hour surgery involved removing three tumors from Donnie's face, which resulted in the loss of tissues, muscles, and bones. When Donnie regained consciousness, he refused to recognize himself. Only his forehead and chin remained on his face, as there was a large hole in the middle. The removal of his upper palate took away his ability to speak, so he had to communicate in writing. Donnie believed his life was over and even asked Sharon to leave him and continue a normal life, which shattered her heart. However, Sharon stayed by his side and helped him through the ordeal.

Donnie Fritts

A Battle Against the Odds

Donnie Fritts became the only person in the world to defeat ameloblastic carcinoma, but it came at a great cost. He underwent 35 surgeries in six years, leaving him without a nose, palate, or upper jaw. Despite receiving a prosthetic palate that enabled him to speak, he still had to remove it while eating and chew food with his fingers. However, the most challenging aspect for Donnie was people's reactions when they saw him - a man without a face. His appearance, with the inner part of his throat and cheeks visible through the hole in his face, shocked many.

Donnie Fritts

A New Hope

Meanwhile, Sharon's heart ached for her husband, and she began searching for solutions online. She reached out to a former CIA disguise specialist named Dr. Robert Barron, who could offer Donnie a new face. Dr. Barron responded promptly, and eight years after the initial surgery, Donnie finally had hope.

A steel framework was created and attached to his face, supporting a specially designed prosthetic mask. A new upper jaw was also constructed, allowing Donnie to eat normally again. But the most significant breakthrough came when Donnie received a new prosthetic nose. He wore it and went to the biggest shopping center, where no one stared at him or made children cry. For Donnie, it felt like a rebirth.

Challenges and Resilience

Sadly, the joy was short-lived as the implants caused a severe infection, leading to a wound on the bone. The prosthetic had to be removed urgently, and Donnie once again fought for his life, as the infection was dangerously close to his brain.

Donnie emerged victorious once more but found himself back to square one - a faceless hole. The issue of a facial prosthesis remains unresolved for Donnie Fritts.

Nevertheless, he refuses to give up. Donnie and Sharon have decided to try implantation again, embarking on another attempt to restore Donnie's face. "We just have to keep living," Donnie Fritts confidently asserts.