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Sister reacts after seeing her dead brother's face on new man with the first ever face transplant

Amelia Jones

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| Last updated 

Sister reacts after seeing her dead brother's face on new man with the first ever face transplant

Featured Image Credit: 60 Minutes Australia

A woman has reacted to seeing the face of her dead brother on another man after the world's first full face transplant.

60 Minutes Australia, hosted by Alison Langdon, told the story of Joshua Aversano and Richard Norris.

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When Joshua was hit and killed in a car accident in 2012, his sister Rebekah and her parents were faced with a decision: whether to donate his face to save the life of another man.

"Having it in their hands to give life to you, we couldn't just not do it, we couldn't just keep it to ourselves," says Rebecca to the man 'wearing her brother's face', Richard Norris, who had been severely disfigured in a gun accident.

The procedure makes Richard a medical marvel as his face, bones, teeth, tongue, skin and hair all came from Joshua.

After the gruelling 36-hour procedure, which saw Joshua's face removed 'starting from just past his hairline', saw his forehead, eyebrows, nose bone structure - including the jaw all the way down to below his collarbone - peeled off in one piece and attached to Richard.

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Rebekah's brother died in a car accident. Credit: 60 Minutes Australia
Rebekah's brother died in a car accident. Credit: 60 Minutes Australia

After the procedure Joshua and Richard's senses and nervous system have 'fused into one' as the clip states. Richard 'can now smell with Joshua's nose', taste with his tongue and even the hair he's shaving is Joshua's.

The video shows the emotional moment that an excited Rebekah met Richard in 2015, three years after the procedure, where she reacts to seeing the face she thought she'd never see again on someone she's never met.

"I thought I would never even get the opportunity to meet him and I didn't know if he would ever even want to meet me," she shares.

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It's a bitter-sweet moment for Rebekah who asks to touch the face she knows so well.

"That is the skin of my brother," she says, unable to tear her eyes away.

"Seeing your lips even, your nose your eyebrows - this is the face that I grew up with.

"He's gone, but in a way he's still here."

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"I do see Josh - I definitely do"

Rebekah was left stunned to see her brother's face again. Credit: 60 Minutes Australia
Rebekah was left stunned to see her brother's face again. Credit: 60 Minutes Australia

When asked if she felt closer to Joshua in that moment she responded: "Yeah I do - thank you."

But it's the recipient of the donated face who is most filled with gratitude.

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"There's just no words to describe how thankful and how grateful i am to their family," he explains.

Rebekah details making the heartbreaking decision she made with her parents to donate Joshua's face after they realised he was gone.

Richard's gift in return is spreading the word about organ donation, which he has made his 'life's mission'.

The face has given him what he's always wanted - to be 'just another face in the crowd'.

"It's all I've ever wanted to be is just a regular person," Richard explained, with his eyes full of tears.

Topics: News, Health, Science, Technology, US News, World News

Amelia Jones
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