November 18, 2017

Widow in emotional meeting with man given dead husband's face in transplant

11 November 2017, 06:18 | Silvia Roy

Lilly Ross left talks with Andy Sandness after meeting at the Mayo Clinic Credit AP

Lilly Ross left talks with Andy Sandness after meeting at the Mayo Clinic Credit AP

Standing in a stately Mayo Clinic library, Lilly Ross reached out and touched the face of a stranger, prodding the rosy cheeks and eyeing the hairless gap in a chin she once had known so well.

The clinic orchestrated a meeting between Lilly and the recipient of her husband's visage this week.

A grieving young mum has felt her late husband's face again for the first time after it was transplanted to a man who survived a suicide attempt 10 years ago.

The two were connected sixteen months after transplant surgery meant Sandness could once again have a face, after living almost a decade without one. Ross was in fear and thinking that how will Sandness manage to do that all. Ross tells that she is happy for the 32 years Sandness who doesn't look himself like Rudy do. The way Rudy saw himself ... he didn't see himself like that'. Calen and Sandness were together for 10 years and had spent a lot of time together whether it is about hunting, fishing or outdoor exploring.

He had put a rifle under his chin native had pulled the trigger which destroys nearly full of his face. Ross shot himself and died in southwestern Minnesota a decade later.

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Andy Sandness survived shooting himself in the face but was left with a disfigured face ever since. It was the first biggest surgery of Mayo Clinic.

She agreed to donate her husband's organs and other parts of his body.

She had already agreed to donate her husband's lungs, kidneys and other organs to patients.

Doctors said that Calen's match with Andy was so flawless that they could have been cousins.

And it seems like a gift that Ross is glad she gave.

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He had lived with a partially rebuilt face that left him with a quarter-size mouth and a prosthetic nose that kept falling off until his 56 hours of surgery at a USA clinic.

He's been promoted in his work as an oilfield electrician and is expanding his world while still prizing the anonymity that comes with a normal face.

"Now I'm able to go chew food, go sit down in restaurants".

Andy says the transplant has transformed his life. Sandness is on a daily regimen of anti-rejection medication.

"I wanted to show you that your gift will not be wasted", Andy told Lilly. All the Sandness medical team also shares their happiness with him.

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"He's pretty much family", she said. They plan to forge a stronger connection, and Sandness said he'll contribute to a trust fund for Leonard's education.

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