Girlfriend of man who had 'world's first face transplant' speaks out on ‘gold digger’ accusations
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The girlfriend of the man who successfully underwent the 'world's first face transplant' has hit out against the mindless ‘gold digger’ comments made by internet trolls.
'If you've got nothing nice to say, don't say it at all,' sadly does not apply on the internet as Jessica Perez - the girlfriend of Joe DiMeo - has received hate both online and in person in relation to her relationship.
The New Jersey man, 24, received the world's first face and hand transplant after a horror incident in July 2018.
Joe suffered third degree burns across 80 percent of his body after a horrific car accident in his Dodge Challenger.
That year, he would hide away at his parents house as he struggled to come to terms with his disfigurements, such as losing his eyelids and finger tips.
2020 would be the year that would changed his life when he was offered the opportunity to undergo a full face and double hand transplant.
Although the 23-hour-long procedure had never been successfully completed before, Joe decided to take the risk and go ahead with it, receiving the face and hands of a deceased 48-year-old stroke victim.
Having read about Joe's story online, Jessica got in touch with him and fell in love after their first phone call.
"We talked every day on the phone, it was a long distance for us at the beginning – with me based in Ohio and him based in New Jersey. I fell in love with him the first time I hugged him.
"He is a sweet, kind, and caring person who knows what he wants, and what we want aligns. Joe checks all the boxes for me."
Sadly, as Joe's journey went viral online, the pair have received hateful comments from online trolls, with some calling Jessica a 'gold digger'.
She explained: "I get a lot of hate online, at this point I feel like a punching bag. People say I’m a gold digger, attention seeking, and call me fake.
"The disrespect is crazy, especially toward someone who you want on your team. I’m a good person and do the right thing, trust me you want me on your side. In public, people stare.
"Sometimes it’s funny, one time a man gave Joe a thumbs-up. But teenagers can be rude and remark 'what’s wrong with his face'.
"Joe doesn’t care, but I wonder how people are raised so poorly. It bothers me, people need to be better than that.
"But I also remind myself they are likely projecting their jealousy when they say hateful things."