Richard Norris lost a large amount of his face in a shooting accident back in 1997 and spent years after receiving surgeries. He grew depressed and withdrawn. But then, in 2012, another tragedy gave him a second chance at happiness.
When 21-year-old Joshua Aversano died in a car accident, his family decided to let his death be a positive thing for others - so they donated his organs and, incredibly, his face.
In one of the most complicated facial transplants ever performed, doctors grafted Joshua's face, along with his teeth, tongue muscles and jaw, to Richard's body.
Three years on, Richard's battles are far from over, but Joshua's family's gift has given him a whole new life. And, on a new episode of 60 Minutes, the sister of the man who died sees her brother's face for the first time since he passed... but on the body of another man.
(Photo Credit: 60 Minutes)
Rebekah Aversano is seen in a preview for the 60 Minutes Australia special - due to be aired on Sunday - walking up the steps and into a house to meet 39-year-old Richard.
As she stands across from Richard she asks if she can touch the face that once belonged to her brother. “Wow," she says. "This is the face I grew up with.”
In the next shot, Richard is shown hugging Rebekah.
Although Richard will be on medication for the rest of his life to suppress his immune system from rejecting the face, hehas talked in interviews about how he is no longer a recluse and has even gone back to school, all thanks to the confidence he's been given by the new face.
Speaking to CTV News, Rebekah and Joshua's mother Gwen said, “We can definitely see our son in him. Some of the facial features would definitely be our son, so we could see similarities, very much so … We are just so pleased we have been able to help him, even though we had such a tragic loss, we were able to give someone else the benefit of our son.
"It was the right thing to do."
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