Three years ago, Rebekah Aversano lost her 21-year-old brother Joshua when he was struck and killed by a minivan while crossing the street. Now, Aversano is finally meeting the man who received Joshua’s face after a groundbreaking transplant procedure.
Aversano met Richard Norris, the man who received Joshua’s transplanted face, as part of an upcoming special with 60 Minutes Australia. In a promotional clip for the special, Aversano touches Norris’ transplanted face in awe, remarking “this is the face that I grew up with.”
Norris was injured in a shooting accident in 1997, leaving his face severely disfigured, according to The Guardian. Norris underwent several treatments to repair his face with limited success. Norris opted to undergo a complex face transplant procedure in 2012, which he only had a 50 percent chance of survival.
A series of photographs of Richard Lee Norris, the recipient of the most extensive full face transplant completed to date are exhibited during a news conference.
The operation proved successful, and although the transplant has brought new health restrictions for Norris, he is now living with Joshua Aversano’s face.
“We can definitely see our son in him,” Joshua’s mother Gwen told CTV News. “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.”