Sunday True Life
"Going on Safari took years off me"
Colleen Hiltbrunner went on the trip of a lifetime and came
back a completely new Woman
By Phillip Smith
Colleen Hiltbrunner went on the trip of a lifetime and came back a completely new Woman By: Philip Smith Colleen Hiltbruner went on an African safari and ended up in hospital with two black eyes and her face covered with bandages. "I told everyone I was attacked by a rabid giraffe," she says, laughing. While most tourists go to see the wild game, Colleen went to South Africa for a bit of nip and tuck. She had a facelift, a nose trim or nasal tip refinement as it's called, an upper and lower eyelift and an arm lift. The Total Package deal for surgery, safari, hotel and air fare for her and hubby Donn was £ 11 000. But she reckons the operations alone would have cost her £ 16 000 at home.
"Some of my friends thought I was crazy going halfway round the world," says Colleen. "But the chance to see the animals in their natural habitat and get the treatments I needed at such a bargain rate was just too good to miss." Colleen. 55. Decided to get plastic surgery after losing some weight. "I was starting to look a little haggard," she explains.
She found out about the Surgeon and Safari Company by surfing the internet. "My father was very, much against it." She says. "He thought a witch doctor was going to do it! In fact, I'd checked thoroughly and knew that I would have a highly qualified surgeon." Colleen and Donn, 67, flew 10 000 miles from their home on Colorado to Johannesburg last summer.
On arrival they were met by Lorraine Melvill, the founder of Surgeon and Safari, and escorted to a five-star hotel. For the first two days of their two-week trip they went on safari. "it was wonderful," Colleen recalls. "We saw just about everything - Lions, rhinos, hippos, crocodiles, giraffes, impala and gazelles". Then Colleen went to hospital for six hours of surgery. Two days later the bandages were removed. "The swelling went down fast but my eyes were black and blue for a bit," she says. "It didn't faze me but it really bothered Donn. When we went out he kept saying, "People are going to think I hit you".
Today Colleen's thrilled with the results. "The changes aren't particularly dramatic," she says "But then I didn't want to end up looking like a whippet in a wind tunnel with all the skin on my face pulled back. The thing is I feel so much younger. I not only look better but I've also had the trip of a lifetime. It was worth every penny". Don says: "It's remarkable".
Her whole outlook has changed. Now she just glows