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Uplifting Story Of Woman Who Survived Brutal Attack To Recieve Face Transplant

Thirty surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses worked for more than 15 hours to complete the operation.

Posted on May 1, 2013, at 2:42 p.m. ET

A Vermont woman whose face was disfigured in a horrifying attack — her estranged husband doused her with lye in June 2007 — has received a face transplant.

Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters

Carmen Blandin Tarleton, 44, spoke at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston Wednesday. She is still legally blind and had to read her remarks from a tablet.

Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters

She said she's telling her story so others can find strength to escape their own pain.

Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters

The hospital says more than 30 surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses worked for more than 15 hours to replace Tarleton's skin, muscles, tendons and nerves.

Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters

Tarleton met the daughter of the face donor, Cheryl Denelli-Righter, at the news conference. Denelli-Righter died of a sudden stroke.

Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters

Said Miranda Righter of her mother and Tarleton: "They are both mothers, they are both survivors, they are both beacons of light."

Charles Krupa / AP

Miranda Righter holds up a photo of her mother, whose face was donated to Tarleton.

Tarleton can now smile and will be able to make more facial expressions in the future. "I can't pucker and feel yet," she said. "But I am looking forward to that day. I know that day will come," according to CNN.

Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters

"There is a lot to learn and take from horrific events," Tarleton said. "I want others to know that they need not give up on feeling themselves when tragedy strikes, but instead they can make a choice to find the good and allow that to help them heal."

Handout / AP