This man is Richard Norris and he lived with a disfigured face for many, many years. Richard just turned 22 and returned to his home state, Virginia, when one night he accidentally shot himself in the face with a shotgun. He didn’t die but it left him with a very disfigured face. His nose became unidentifiable, his jaws were maimed as if it were eaten by a shark. Worse, he wasn’t able to eat or drink properly. He has tried killing himself a couple of times, because it seemed that there was no hope left for him.
This other person, on the other hand, is Joshua Aversana, and he died on a traffic accident. While attempting to cross the street, Joshua got hit by a car and almost immediately died on the spot.
Now, what is the connection between Richard and Joshua? Turns out, it was a very crucial one. After Joshua died, Richard, who was already on the lookout for a face replacement, went to Joshua’s parents, pleading them to do something that’s borderline crazy: Richard asked their permission to get Joshua’s face as the main piece for his face transplant procedure. Of course, this took Joshua’s parents aback for a bit. Would they like Joshua’s memories to live on in another human’s body? The ethics of it was hazy to say the least.
Eventually, Joshua’s parents agreed to let Richard use Joshua’s face.
It was not an immediate win for Richard, of course. There was a 50/50 chance that he was going to survive the surgery. But to Richard, it didn’t matter – he had nothing to lose.
Richard’s surgery went extremely well and he now has a brand new reconstructed face, all thanks to Joshua. The video below recounts Richard’s story from the time that he got into the disastrous accident that cost his face, up until his newfound life through Joshua.
This story reminds us of the wonders of modern science.
But even more important than that, we are reminded that we should never give up on life and continue to struggle on, because as sure as the sun rises and sets new opportunities await us!