Woman meets man who received her late husband’s face in groundbreaking transplant

Lily Ross meets Andy Sandness, the man to whom she donated her husband' face (YouTube)

A little more than a year after a groundbreaking surgery at the Mayo Clinic, a young Minnesota widow met with the Wyoming man to whom she agreed to donate her late husband’s face. Lilly Ross was eight months pregnant when her husband, Calen Ross, 21, shot himself and died. Ross said she had already agreed to donate her husband’s lungs, kidneys, and other organs, to help people in need when she was contacted by LifeSource, a Midwestern nonprofit, that told her there was a man, Andy Sandness, in need of a face transplant. Despite her reservations, she said, she agreed to help a man whose failed suicide attempt a decade earlier had destroyed much of his face, and left him reclusive and ashamed of his appearance.

The 56-hour-long surgery last June was Mayo’s first face transplant — worldwide, only an estimated two dozen have been attempted. Sixteen months later, she finally met Sandness in person for the first time. She reached out and touched his face, and told him that his beard, like her husband’s, was missing a patch of hair in the middle.

“Meeting Andy, it has finally given me closure,” she said, her voice quivering. “Everything happened so fast.”

Going into the meeting, she said, she had been afraid that she would painfully reminded of her husband — but even with her husband’s face, Sandness looked distinctly different.

“It was amazing how good he looked and how well he’s doing,” she marveled. “I’m excited for him that he’s getting his life back.”

Watch video of their meeting below.

Read the full story at The Daily Mail.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is independent of and separate from any views of The New York Times.

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