In 2020, Joseph DiMeo received the world's first face and hand transplant. Now, he has revealed the horrific trolling both he and his girlfriend have received online.
In the year that followed, Joe became somewhat of a recluse, hiding away at his parents' house as he came to terms with his disfigurements, including losing his eyelids and finger tips.
Then, in 2020, he was offered the opportunity to undergo a potentially life-changing surgery — a full face and double hand transplant.
The surgery was risky; a gruelling 23 hour procedure that had never been successfully completed before. But Joe decided to go ahead with it, receiving the face and hands of a 48-year-old stroke victim.
The surgery was a massive success and gave Joe the chance to live his life to the maximum again.
He even found love with 32-year-old Jessica Koby, who reached out to him on Instagram after being inspired by his story. The couple have been together for two years.
But, not everyone has been supportive of their relationship, with cruel trolls labelling Jessica a 'gold digger.'
"I think it’s funny, she doesn’t," Joe told The Daily Star.
"She takes it to heart as she works hard for what she has.
"She’s an OR [operating room] nurse so it’s pretty high up there so she doesn’t like that people call her 'gold digger' and stuff like that. But at the end of the day, they don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors," he continued.
"They don’t know the true story, it’s only the little people that bug her and they don’t have real profiles, without their faces on it. So why let that bother you?
"They’re just going to say something to you and go on to the next person and say something. So it’s not really worth your time to get bothered by it."
Trolls have also hurled abuse at Joe about his appearance, comparing him to famous horror characters like Chucky, Michael Myers and Leather Face.
But the 24-year-old takes it all in his stride, joking: "People make fun of me and call me like ‘Michael Myers’ or 'Leather Face' from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It’s one of my favourite movies so I don’t mind it – so that one doesn’t bother me. I encourage them."Featured Image Credit: Credit: Instagram/@joeroydimeo