Ten-year-old Amber Rose was in a near-deadly farm accident three years ago – an incident that cut her face in half and sent her briefly to Heaven.
According to ABC5, the Kordiak family was spending time outside on July 6, 2013.
The Kordiak children were playing until then-7-year-old Amber-Rose was ready for bed.
At the last moment, she decided to head back outside to ask her father if he needed any help with his chores.
Jen Kordiak, Amber Rose’s mother, shared: “I said, ‘OK hurry up because you’ve got to go to bed soon.'”
Jesse Kordiak, Jen’s husband, was herding calves so he could vaccinate them the next morning and he asked his daughter to wain in the house.
As Amber Rose made her way back, a 600-pound tractor tire leaning against the barn attracted her attention.
As a child, she didn’t stop to think twice. She began to climb it.
Jesse recalled: “I yelled not to play on that, but I didn’t get it all the way out and it went over on top of her.”
The heavy tire crashed down onto the small girl, its 6-inch metal rim slicing her straight through the face.
“As soon as it went over, I ran over there and lifted it up and I just tried to hold her face together,” Jesse explained after seeing his daughter’s split face drenched in blood.
The Kordiaks called 911 and drove to meet the ambulance.
“I just kept thinking, she’s not going to stop breathing on my clock,” Jen said.
Amber Rose’s injuries were so horrific, even the paramedics were shocked.
“They were standing there with their mouths open, they were frozen, they weren’t moving,” Jen recalled.
The little girl was airlifted to a Twin Cities hospital, where doctors realized she lost so much blood her small body was already in shock.
Amazingly, her organs didn’t shut down.”
Jen explained, “I think she probably did die; I don’t know how she made it.”
Amber Rose spent weeks in the hospital as doctors and nurses worked around the clock to keep her going.
As she healed, Amber-Rose stunned her family by sharing she passed away and saw beams of light intertwined with prayers “coming up to heaven.”
She was asked how she knew what she saw was really light beams of prayers, to which the little girl responded, “Well, you know everything in heaven, so, I just knew.”
It wasn’t until she saw her family’s grief and pain that she remembered she wanted to return to her broken body.
“Because I didn’t want my family to be hurt,” Amber Rose explained.
Over the next several weeks. Amber-Rose continued to heal and soon she was well enough to return home.
Amber Rose’s face remains deeply scarred and the injury left her with traumatic brain damage.
For the next three years, Amber Rose returned to several hospitals for reconstruction and brain surgeries.
Heartbroken for her daughter’s scars, Jen explained, “It’s a natural human instinct to stare at something you don’t understand, but she would get stares where people would walk into walls; they wouldn’t look away.
“It’s really hard for her, but she doesn’t let on, she doesn’t dwell on it.”
Unfortunately, Jen explained several doctors were able to work on an eye, the upper or lower jaw, but none could help with all of her face.
Finally, the Kordiaks reached out to the Mayo Clinic, where Dr. Uldis Bite, a plastic surgeon, accepted Amber Rose’s case.
At 10-years-old, she if finally going to get the facial reconstruction surgery she deserves.
A 3D model was created on the Mayo campus to help Dr. Bite plan how to construct her face.
Dr. Bite’s team placed a piece of plastic into Amber Rose’s eye socked to lift it, after opening her scalp.
They carefully repositioned the corner of her eye, added a rib bone to increase the projection of her nose, and took a plate off near her jaw to allow a better range of motion.
The entire surgery took over 15 hours.
Amber Rose wore an ice pack over both eyes, her face was a swollen mess, there was nerve pain across her body and she was heavily medicated.
For the next week, she remained hospitalized.
When she returned home, she remained in pain and was placed on a strict diet. Amber Rose wasn’t even allowed to play with her siblings, for fear of damaging her newly reconstructed face.
“It’s hard to see someone you love in pain,” Christina Kordiak, Amber Rose’s sister, shared.
Another sister, Angela Kordiak, added, “We’re all going to have to rely on each other to stay strong.”
Six weeks passed this way before Amber Rose returned to the Mayo Clinic.
He face was still swollen and there were several scars, but Dr. Bite assured the child both would fade.
“Nobody will stare at me; I’ll look different,” Amber Rose stated.
Throughout the entire process, Amber Rose has not complained or made it obvious she was hurt by her altered appearance.
Jen said: “I just love what she teaches us about love and people and mercy and beauty and she doesn’t even know she does it.
“…When it first happened they told us our baby girl would never smile again, and her smile was amazing from day one. She defied odds, and said, ‘I can’t frown, but I can smile’ and that’s what happened.”
There are more surgeries scheduled for little Amber Rose, including a nerve and muscle transplant to the face muscles that are paralyzed and an eye lid for her right eye.
As she ages and grows, she will need more surgeries but for now doctors and Amber Rose agree her face is beautiful.
To help pay for her surgeries, the family has started a GoFundMe page, where nearly $16,000 of their $25k goal has been met.