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Amarillo Native Honored for Courage, Selflessness

BALTIMORE, Oct. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Losing the ability to see, speak, hear and taste would devastate even the most steadfast person. Despite horrific obstacles like these, some plastic surgery patients are able turn their challenges into opportunities to inspire and help others in need. A.J. Reed and three other such reconstructive plastic surgery heroes will be honored with the Patients of Courage: Triumph Over Adversity award at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) Plastic Surgery 2007 conference in Baltimore on Saturday, October 27. The ASPS recognizes Rigsby as an inspirational role model for other reconstructive plastic surgery patients.

Reed, 22, currently of Waynesboro, Ga., thought he did not have much to live for as a teenager. At age 16, after years of feeling extremely depressed, he picked up a 12-gauge shotgun and shot himself in the head. The shot ripped through his face, barely missing his brain, removing 60 percent of his facial structure. His family was initially told there was nothing that could be done, but they did not give up and found an ASPS Member Surgeon in Dallas who would take his case.

"I am proud to receive this award," said Reed. "It shows that the path I am now on-using what happened to me to show others that they can go on and live a full life-is the right one."

Since the incident, Reed has undergone more than 30 reconstructive plastic surgery procedures to rebuild his face and has completely changed his outlook on life. Believing his life was spared for a reason, he is on a mission to help others. Reed now speaks to youth groups in several states about suicide prevention and is studying to become a youth pastor.

"When we, as plastic surgeons, see patients who have endured extremely difficult circumstances go on to help others overcome their problems, it's just incredibly inspiring," said ASPS Member Surgeon David Genecov, MD, of Dallas.

The Patients of Courage: Triumph Over Adversity program is supported by Ethicon Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company. The program exemplifies achievements of reconstructive plastic surgery patients.

Visit, for referrals to ASPS Member Surgeons and to learn more about reconstructive plastic surgery.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. With more than 6,000 members, the Society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises 90 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the Society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

SOURCE American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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