Woman shot in the face says she feels blessed to have “a second life”

A South Florida woman recovering after she was shot in the face said Monday she was determined to survive.

“I was thinking about never, never, never close my eyes,” Evelin Matamoros, 36, said in a news conference at Jackson Memorial Hospital. “I had to keep (alive) for my daughters, my family.”

A bullet was removed from Matamoros as doctors placed a metallic plate in her jaw during seven hours of surgery last Wednesday. She has been hospitalized since Jan. 24, when she was shot in a robbery outside a cafe, according to police.

“I feel so blessed because I have a second life,” Matamoros said.

Police said she handed over her purse to a robber but he shot her in the face anyway. Suspect Kamiah Lanier, 20, faces several charges in the shooting, police said.

Officials released X-rays that had been taken of Matamoros last week, with doctors saying that after the bullet entered through her cheekbone, it went into her mouth, continued through her body and into the upper part of her neck. Matamoros currently has a series of metal staples along her neck.

She is in stable condition and will probably go home this Wednesday, hospital spokeswoman Lidia Amoretti said.

“First of all, I want to thank God eternally for a second chance to be here, next to my husband, my daughters,” Matamoros said in Spanish. “Thank you to the doctors who made a great effort to save my life.”

Her daughter, Allison Matamaros, prayed for her mother to survive.

“Because she was praying to stay alive for us – to keep our family united,” Allison Matamaros said in tears.

The Jackson Memorial Foundation announced Monday that it has set up a fund to help Matamoros, who has two daughters.

“Aside from the immediate urgent care she is currently receiving, Evelin will need additional surgeries and physical therapy in the near future to provide her the chance to return to her normal self,” said Thomas Schramm, the foundation’s CEO, in a statement. “That is why we are counting on the generosity of our community to help Evelin’s family with her medical needs.”

Allison Matamaros asked the public to help with the family’s medical bills.

“Please give money to support because I really want my mom to be alive until God wants – so does my sister,” she said.

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