Strangers fund life-changing surgery for man who got keloids after nick at barbershop

Posted at 3:09 PM, Jul 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-21 17:09:03-04

MILWAUKEE – A Wisconsin man suffered for years from a debilitating condition that left him disfigured. He initially lost a battle with insurance, and desperately needed funds for a transformative procedure.

Keith Crowell has been on a quest to fix his face. It wouldn't have been possible without the community and his faith.

"Pray until something happens," is Crowell's mantra.

Thanks to the generosity of strangers, Crowell was able to make two trips to New York where a surgeon removed the keloid masses.

His prayers came to fruition after a story about his struggle aired on television. After he was nicked by a barber nearly 13 years ago, he was left with a life-altering condition that became debilitating. The cuts never healed, and instead grew, and at one point, caused nearly 40 pounds of flesh to hang from his face.

Keith Crowell

"It's been a real journey," Crowell said.

After he was initially denied by his insurance company, viewers wanting to help donated more than $25,000 to a GoFundMe account.

Keith Crowell

"It takes my breath away," Crowell said.

In May, Crowell went to a plastic surgeon and had surgery to remove masses from one side of his face.

"It's going great. This side has been doing excellent," Crowell said.

He recently prepared for the second part of the procedure, packing up and heading to New York to see the specialist once again. After a long flight, and five days in New York City, his surgery and radiation were complete.

Crowell is back home, keloid-free, and beaming from ear to ear.

"I feel a lot lighter. It's a lot of weight off my shoulders. I'm energetic. I feel more of myself. I feel more alive," Crowell said.

Shedding his bandages and insecurities, he now exchanges pleasantries at work as a casino security guard. He said he has a new sense of self.

Keith Crowell

"I just feel good about it. I'm more comical. I meet and greet the customers a little more. I'm more of a people person than I was before," Crowell said.

He said he's grateful to now live without the emotional and physical pain.

"My burden is over with. I can sleep at night. I can eat, Crowell said.

He does have some scars that will eventually fade, but he said the support and care offered to him is something he'll never forget.

"Thank you. Thank you for your support and thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you've done for me," Crowell said.

Crowell is still healing, and doctors say there's a 96% chance the keloids will not return. He said he's become an advocate for others living with keloids.