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Baltimore Local, Burn Victim Wins Patient of Courage Award

Honored at American Society of Plastic Surgeons Annual Meeting

CHICAGO, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Eighteen year old Rachel Cooney, a Bel Air resident, a burn victim from an accident in her native country of Ghana and spiritual humanitarian for people of special needs, will be the proud recipient of the 2008 Patients of Courage: Triumph Over Adversity Award, at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) Plastic Surgery 2008 conference, Saturday, Nov. 1, in Chicago.

The Patients of Courage: Triumph Over Adversity program honors reconstructive plastic surgery patients, nominated by their ASPS Member Surgeons, whose lives were restored through reconstructive plastic surgery and whose charitable actions influence and benefit the lives around them. The award is supported by Ethicon, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company.

"The wisdom, courage, strength and spirituality found in this young woman is breathtaking," said Navin Singh, MD, ASPS Member Surgeon. "With all that she has been through, she is devoted to helping others. She has given so much more than she has received."

When she was 9-years-old, Cooney was adopted from Ghana after suffering severe burns to her face. She received life-saving reconstructive plastic surgery operations in the initial stage, which yielded remarkable results, but she was still missing her nose. After trying a prosthetic nose, several factors, such as her desire to participate in dance, sports and routine teenage activities, led her to seek reconstruction to create a new nose for her. A team of plastic surgeons built a nose from arm tissue and rib cartilage leading to an excellent result

Throughout her reconstructive journey, Rachel serves as an inspiration to others. She is active in her church's leadership and community service, where she helps at local shelters serving meals. She has also gone with her youth group to Mexico where she helped lay a foundation for a church and ministered to the local children. She is very active in the Young Life Capernaum Project, which is a ministry service for people with special needs where they create provide activities that enables those with physical and mental disabilities to enjoy all that others do. She will soon graduate from cosmetology school and hopes to open a salon for people with special needs.

"There is so much that is wonderful about this world that I just want to help others to be able to experience it," said Cooney, award recipient.

More than 31,000 burn care and nearly 29,000 microsurgical procedures were performed in 2007, according to ASPS.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. Representing more than 6,700 physician members, the Society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises more than 94 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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