WHEN Maurice Simpson looks in the mirror he smiles and says: "I am probably the best looking man in the world."
He's always said it, even when his tumors were so large he could hardly fit his motorbike helmet over his face, even if he didn't always believe it.
Born with a rare condition that gave him huge facial tumors, Maurice, 34, has finally had surgery to save his life and give him a new face.
Maurice was born with neurofibromatosis, a genetic condition that causes nerve tissue to grow into tumors.
As a child, the right side of his face was engulfed with fleshly lumps that obscured his eye.
After seven painful operations the tumors continued to grow but Maurice didn't let the stares or cruel comments get him down.
"My parents taught me to be happy with who I am," said Maurice, from Ogden, Utah.
"At the age of fifteen I got tired of all the operations and decided to just get on with living."
And live he did. Maurice became a basketball coach, got a career as a restaurant manager and became a popular figure in his local community.
He met a woman, Tara Williams, and the couple had two children - Shayla, 13, and Christopher Rashawn, 11. The relationship didn't work out but the kids stayed with Maurice.
Then, in 2000, Maurice met the love of his life, Charity. Maurice already had severe facial tumours but that didn't stop Charity falling head over heels in love with him.
"The first time I saw him I was a little shocked by his face," said Charity, 30, a supervisor at a food shop.
"But Maurice was so confident and flirtatious, he really shone. I thought he was very attractive. Maurice is so funny and charming, everybody wants to be near him."
Maurice and Charity wed in 2002 and went on to have three more children - Maurice Jr., six, Jaylen, three, and Andre, five months.
Happy with his life Maurice felt healthy so, as an adult, he rarely went to the doctor.
"I thought I was just fine the way I was. My kids and wife loved me. What more could a man want?"
But the tumors grew. "My face was getting so big I could hardly fit my motorbike helmet on," added Maurice.
"It was like in Turner and Hooch when the dog shakes his head and all the saggy skin droops and shakes."
Then in January 2010, an anonymous local businessman offered to pay thousands of dollars for him to have surgery.
"He said he'd seen Maurice around and he wanted to help," said Charity.
The couple accepted the kind offer and Maurice went to surgery in January this year in Utah.
In theatre at the Huntsman Cancer Center doctors discovered Maurice's life was in grave danger. Maurice had been oblivious to colossal tumo
Click to view image: 'My Future With A Tumor-Free Face'rs breaking his skull apart from the inside.
Then, on June 17, Maurice underwent a second operation to remove 95 per cent of the sagging skin on his face and reposition his drooping mouth.
Dr Jason Hunt performed the five-hour surgery.
"Maurice is the most severe case of all the patients I take care of," he said.
"We needed to remove more than half a pound of tissue."
But when the bandages came off Maurice and his family were thrilled.
"I can't believe they managed to remove so much of it," said Maurice.
"I feel great. My face is never going to be like everyone else's but that's what makes me unique and I'm happy for that."
The surgery means Maurice can now slip his motorcycle helmet on with ease.
"And when I take my helmet off I still see the same handsome man looking back at me in the mirror," he said.
Click to view image: 'My Future With A Tumor-Free Face'
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