People call me a gold digger for dating a man who had a face transplant – but we don’t care | The Sun
10th August 2023

A NURSE whose fell for her boyfriend after he received a face transplant has been called a gold digger by trolls.

Jessica Perez, 32, met 24-year-old Joe DiMeo through social media after reading his tragic story online – the pair have been inseparable ever since.

"From our first phone call, Joe was special to me," Jessica, from Ohio, US said.

Joe, who lived in New Jersey, had suffered third degree burns across 80 per cent of his body when he crashed his car in 2018.

Since then, he has undergone 20 reconstructive plastic surgeries and skin grafts on his face and hands.

For Jessica, Joe checks "all the boxes".

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"He is a sweet, kind, and caring person who knows what he wants, and what we want aligns," she said.

But despite the new relationship getting off to a good start, Jessica said she "feels like a punching bag"because of the online hate she receives.

"People say I’m a gold digger, attention seeking, and call me fake," the nurse said.

The pair also receive their fair share of in-person bullying.

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"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," Jessica said.

The loved-up pair met eight months after Joe's transplant.

Their relationship quickly blossomed as they bonded over their shared love for Boston Terrier dogs – and they now share Buster, six, and Kirkland, seven.

Although Joe has recovered from his surgeries he still gets admitted to hospital from time to time.

"We've had to cancel trips, plans and we can't go out in the summer heat even for a walk because Joe can go into rejection from the sun."

"This has never been an issue for me and because I am a nurse, I understand a lot regarding his care," the nurse said.

Jessica said both herself and Joe never let the negativity get to them and they both remain positive and hopeful about their future.

She continued: "I talk to Joe about the hate, he helps me navigate my feelings.

"Sometimes I’ll respond to it if someone is public about their life."

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The couple are now looking forward to building a family.

"We would like to get a puppy together in the near future", she said.

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