Widow Meets Man Who Has Her Dead Husband’s Face For First Time After Successful Face Transplant [VIDEO]

Widow Meets Man Who Has Her Dead Husband’s Face For First Time After Successful Face Transplant [VIDEO]

Remember that old, terrible Nick Cage flick “Face-Off?” Where they were able to surgically remove the face of Nick Cage and put it on John Travolta? Or something like that? It was an awful movie, to be sure, but it looks like the idea has come to life.

Andy Sandness and Calen Ross are our Nick Cage and John Travolta of the story. Although neither is a wanted terrorist nor an FBI agent, they both led troubled lives. Although they never knew each other, they would be inextricably linked in their fates.

Sandness attempted suicide in 2006. Ross attempted the same 10 years later.

Ross succeeded in his attempt and was survived by a pregnant wife. In 2006, Sandness survived his self-inflicted gunshot wound by rifle, but most of his face was gone.

Surgeries were able to patch up Sandness’ face, but they were anything but perfect. His new nose would sometimes fall off, being a prosthetic and his mouth was only the size of a small coin or marble.

In 2012, the Mayo Clinic was offering an experimental face transplant surgery and things started to turn around for Sandness. He wait-listed on the program in 2016. Meanwhile, Ross’ wife Lily had a decision to make regarding her husbands remains.

Lily Ross had previously decided to donate her husband’s organs upon his death. She received a strange request when a local nonprofit gave her a call. LifeSource, the nonprofit in question, asked if she would be willing to donate her husband’s facial tissue to someone else. Kind of like an organ transplant, right?

It was a tough decision. Lily worried about the emotions she would go through seeing her husband’s face again. Ultimately, her altruism shined through and she accepted the offer, saying she wanted to tell her son that some good came out of his father’s demise.

The surgery lasted 56 hours. Sandness had a new face and a new outlook on life. It provided superior mobility and functionality but most importantly, it gave him the confidence in himself that he had lost.

“I wouldn’t go out in public. I hated going into bigger cities,” Sandness told the AP. “And now I’m just really spreading my wings and doing the things I missed out on — going out to restaurants and eating, going dancing.”

It took Lily Ross 16 months to finally muster up the courage to see Sandness for the first time. She thought it would be a devastating affair, but it turned out quite well for her.

“It made me proud,” Lily said. “The way Rudy saw himself … he didn’t see himself like that. Meeting Andy, it has finally given me closure,” she said.

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