(WSVN) - It’s been two years since a 20-year-old South Florida woman stared death in the face — literally. Lyndsey Cooper was left for dead by a robber, and she’s talking to just one station about how she’s turned her “Pain Into Purpose.” 7’s Alex de Armas has the story.
There aren’t enough fingers on her two hands to count the number of surgeries she’s had since Halloween night 2014.
That was the night 20-year-old Lyndsey Cooper got home from work and was confronted by a gunman at her front door.
He robbed her of a mere $40 and then shot her in the face. He’s never been caught.
Lyndsey Cooper: “This is my life.”
7News met up with Lyndsey after she drove two hours from West Palm Beach to the University of Miami Hospital to undergo her 14th surgery.
Lyndsey Cooper: “You really have no idea how strong you are until being strong is the last thing you have.”
Doctors will be putting a plastic plate in her jaw so they can eventually give her bottom teeth — something she hasn’t had since the shooting.
After hugs and kisses from friends and family, and a final wave, Lyndsey is whisked behind the double doors toward the operating room, where our cameras were not allowed to go.
Dr. Michael Peleg has made it his mission to reconstruct Lyndsey’s face.
Dr Michael Peleg, facial surgeon, University of Miami Hospital: “She’s a remarkable person. She has some devastated changes in her face. That’s definitely something that is very difficult to cope with emotionally.”
It took two weeks for Lyndsey’s jaw to heal enough to sit down and talk with us about life now and what’s next.
Her jaw is still very swollen, but she’s thrilled with the surgery because she should soon get off the liquid diet she’s been on since the shooting.
Lyndsey Cooper: “Once I get my teeth, I’m going to get the biggest, the best, juiciest steak there is.”
And now that her surgery schedule is slowing down, she can’t wait to start sharing her story with victims of crime and troubled kids.
Lyndsey Cooper: “I’m gonna get my story out there as well as I can.”
Her main message? Guns don’t solve problems.
Lyndsey Cooper: “You can get through whatever hard time you’re going though, but not with a gun.”
But Lyndsey is determined to not let this crime stop her.
She plans to go to college to get a degree in sign language and continue working toward turning her pain into purpose.
Lyndsey Cooper: “Somebody like me, to undergo 14 surgeries and still keep going and keeping their head up, that’s what a survivor is.”
Because of Lyndsey’s rigorous surgery schedule and recovery time, she hasn’t been able to work. A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise funds for her college education. She hopes to start soon.
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Lyndsey Cooper medical fund