Rebekah Aversano sees and touches the face of her dead brother on Richard Norris, an American whose face was severely disfigured in a shotgun incident in 1997, in a meeting filmed by 60 Minutes Australia.
In the program to be broadcast this Sunday, Aversano goes to Norris’s home in Virginia to meet him for the first time.
A stunned Aversano asks him, “Do you mind if I touch it [his face]?”
“Wow. This is the face I grew up with,” Aversano says afterward, stepping back.
Aversano’s brother Josh, 21, died after being hit by a minivan in Baltimore three years ago, reports the Guardian.
Norris had the face transplant in March 2012 in one of the most extensive face transplants ever performed. The 36-hour operation included transplantation of the teeth, tongue, upper and lower jaw and all facial tissue from the scalp to the base of the neck.
Joshua’s parents, Randy and Gwen Aversano, told the Today show in 2013 that it was a tough decision, but the right one, to let Norris have Joshua’s face.
“I know I did tell Randy at the time, if I ever saw someone walking around who had Joshua’s face, the first thing I would do is walk up and give him a big hug,” Gwen said.
Randy added: “We just felt that this is something he would want to do, that out of this tragedy, something good could happen … It was Richard’s only hope.”
Before the transplant, Norris had lived as a recluse for 15 years, wearing a mask to disguise the deformity.
60 Minutes Australia did not say when the meeting was filmed.
The segment airs this Sunday.