MIAMI (CBS4) - The woman shot in the face during a robbery outside a Miami restaurant last month publicly thanked her doctors Monday and her family made a plea for help.
Evelin Matamoros is being treated at Jackson Memorial Hospital almost two weeks after she was shot.
She was walking, talking and smiling again after the terrifying ordeal.
"I was thinking, never, never, never close my eyes. I have to keep living for my daughters," Matamoros said.
Her face was still swollen and her incision had not healed, but her spirit was still strong.
"I feel so blessed because I have a second life. I'm going to have two birthdays," Matamoros joked.
Miami police said a robber shot Matamoros in the face outside a restaurant at 5300 N.W. 7th Avenue even though she was cooperating with his demands.
Police arrested 20-year-old Kamiah Lanier. Investigators said Matamoros gave him her purse, but he shot her anyway.
"It was so scary," Matamoros recalled Monday.
She was rushed to the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
With her husband and two children by her side, Matamoros has made incredible progress. Her daughter Allison cried when she spoke of how close her mother came to death.
"She was brave to stay alive for us, to keep our family united," Allison Matamoros said.
X-rays taken just days after the shooting showed the extent of the damage. A bullet was still lodged below Matamoros' jaw and some her teeth were shattered. The mother-of-two underwent surgery and her doctor is impressed with her recovery so far.
"She's very lucky," Dr. Michael Peleg said. "Always, a gunshot wound to the face is difficult. It poses a lot of risk."
Dr. Peleg said Matamoros will need a bone graft in three months. In the meantime, he said they'll be watching for signs of infection.
Despite the incredible strides she's made, Matamoros admitted sometimes the pain is too much to handle.
"Sometimes, because it's difficult," Matamoros said. "Now I'm trying to talk a little more.
The Matamoros family is grateful to the doctors and nurses at JMH, and even strangers for their support.
"Please help us," Allison Matamoros said. "We have a lot of family that really wants my mom to be alive as long as God wants."
The Jackson Memorial Foundation has set up a fund to assist Evelin Matamoros.
You can make a donation at www.jmf.org.
To make a contribution, click the "Take Action Now" tab, and then click on donations. Select "other" in the contribution details section and input: Evelin Matamoros.
You may also write a check to Jackson Memorial Foundation and include "Evelin Matamoros" in the memo portion. Checks can be mailed to Jackson Memorial Foundation, Park Plaza East, Suite G, 901 N.W. 17th Street, Miami, FL 33136.
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