38-year-old Tim McGrath was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of soft tissue cancer called synovial sarcoma, which caused a massive tumor to grown on his jaw.
Doctors were able to cut the tumor out, but his body rejected multiple attempts to recover and rebuild.
Using skin from McGrath's leg and forearm, Dr. Kongkrit Chaiyaste was able to starting reconstructing the features on the left side of his face and will continue the work into next year.
"After the operation to remove the tumor I was heartbroken, I didn’t realize that half of my face would be taken away and it wasn’t until I went to Dr. Chaiyasate that I start to feel real hope again.
I was covered in scars from previous surgeries which limited my options for reconstruction but we went ahead and the outcome has been incredible.
He reconstructed my face using skin and muscle from my left leg, left forearm, and a flap from my forehead and skin graphs were used to help the healing process.
I currently can’t drink liquid, eat through my mouth, or pronounce certain words, however, my quality of life has improved massively.
There are people who stare at me, mostly children who don’t understand, but I would hope that others look past what they can see.
My journey has been long and mostly inconceivable to most, but I have an amazing support group around me and I draw strength from them daily.
I have been through something horrific, but if what I’ve gone through can inspire people to live their lives with gratitude for the things they take for granted then it makes what I’ve gone through all worth it.
McGrath was first diagnosed in February 2014 and by May 2015 the tumor had doubled in size, and inhibited his ability to eat and breathe.
He's making progress with Dr. Chiasyaste, and has had an incredible support system of friends and family:
"My family and friends have been amazing and their fundraisers have helped me afford and endure the $40,000 to 50,000 that has had to come out of pocket."