Health Care

Tearful meeting for pair forever linked by face transplant

Tearful meeting for pair forever linked by face transplant”

Lilly Ross met Andy Sandness for the first time recently at Mayo Clinic, where Andy underwent 56 hours of surgery past year to receive the face of Lilly's husband, Calen.

During the encounter Lilly, whose husband Calen "Rudy" Ross died in 2016, reached out and touched Andy's face, prodding the rosy cheeks and eyeing the hairless patch on his chin she once had known so well.

But she was stunned when she ran her fingers across his beard.

The two were connected sixteen months after transplant surgery meant Sandness could once again have a face, after living almost a decade without one.

They two meets at the clinic and it takes 56 hours for Sandness surgery.

Lilly showed Andy photos of cherished moments with her late husband.

Lilly had feared seeing Calen's face on another man for the possible reminders of the suicide that ended his life.

A transplant gives the change to a widow woman to feel her husband's presence. The way Rudy saw himself ... he didn't see himself like that'.

Sandness and Calen Ross lived lives full of hunting, fishing and exploring the outdoors before their struggles consumed them, 10 years and hundreds of miles apart.

He had put a rifle under his chin native had pulled the trigger which destroys nearly full of his face.

He withdrew from contact with other people after facial surgery left him severely disfigured - with a quarter-sized nose and a prosthetic nose, which subsequently fell off.

Now, 16 months later, they have had a tearful union at the Mayo Clinic of not for profit Lifesource which facilitates the donation of organs and tissue.

She agreed to donate his organs and body while eight months pregnant.

She said: 'It made me proud.

Lilly consented, despite her hesitation about some day seeing her husband's face on a stranger.

Plastic surgeon Dr Samir Mardini, who did the operation at the Mayo Clinic, said: 'It turns out Andy is not as much of an introvert as we thought.

Andy says the transplant has transformed his life.

'I wanted to show you that your gift will not be wasted, ' he told Lilly. She shares her emotional feelings which everyone and tells that she had felt like she is meeting with her husband.

'Meeting Andy, it has finally given me closure, ' Lilly said.

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