When she was 16 years old, a shotgun blast to the face cost Chrissy Steltz her eyes and nose. She was hanging out with her high school friends at the apartment where she lived with her boyfriend at the time. Someone picked up a stolen shotgun, one of 15 firearms Chrissy helped her friends to steal two weeks earlier. Chrissy says she remembers telling him to put it down “before you kill someone.” The last thing she remembers was the response, “It’s not loaded.” But it was. Somehow, the gun went off, bombarding Chrissy with birdshot. When she woke up in the hospital, her life had changed forever.
Chrissy was not charged in connection with the burglary. Though she drove her friends and the stolen guns away from the scene, prosecutors decided she had suffered enough. She finished high school and is proud to say she graduated on time. She says the accident that severely disfigured her also set her on a better path in life.
A decade after the accident, Chrissy is a new mom and she has a new face made of silicone and acrylic.
Has your life been affected by a major trauma? How did you heal? Has an accident left you, or someone you know, disabled or disfigured? What life-changing lessons did you learn? What do you want to ask Chrissy Steltz about her life since the accident?
- Chrissy Steltz
- Eric Dierks: Oral and maxillo facial surgeon at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center
More Think Out Loud
OPB | Sept. 22, 2016