A woman has met the recipient of her dead brother’s face three years after a ground breaking face transplant.
Rebekah Aversano and Richard Norris met for the first time after her brother Joshua’s face was donated following a tragic car accident in Maryland in March 2012.
The emotional meeting was filmed for an upcoming episode of 60 Minutes Australia which will be broadcast this weekend.
Joshua Aversano was killed by a minivan while crossing the road three years ago and his face was donated to Richard Norris (39) who was involved in a shooting accident in 1997 aged 22.
A team of expert surgeons at the University of Maryland medical centre took 36 hours to complete the complex surgery which involved the transplant of teeth, a jaw, tongue muscles and nerves.
Richard and Joshua’s sister Rebekah met in his home in Virginia USA for the first time earlier this year.
“Do you mind if I touch it? Wow, this is the face I grew up with,” she says in the emotional meeting.
Following Joshua’s tragic death, the Aversano family believe they made the right decision by donating the 21-year-old’s face to help another.
“We can definitely see our son in him,” Joshua’s mother, Gwen, told Canada’s CTV News network.
“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.”