This is the incredible story of a woman whose family donated her dead brother’s face to a man without one.

Richard Norris accidentally blew off half his face with a shotgun in 1997 at the age of 22, and Rebekah Aversano’s family decided to donate the face of their 21-year-old brother and son, Joshua, who died in a car accident.

The life-changing operation saw Joshua’s face transplanted onto Richard’s, and the moment Rebekah met the man with her late brother’s face is an incredibly touching one.

Richard Norris before and after surgery

Filmed for 60 Minutes, the meeting sees Rebekah asking Richard if she can touch his face, before saying in amazement, “Wow, this is the face I grew up with.”

Richard underwent over 30 operations to try and correct the damage to his face after the horrifying accident almost 20 years ago.


But it wasn’t until three years ago that the Aversano family changed his life by donating Joshua’s face, teeth, jaw and tongue.

Gwen Aversano, Joshua’s mother, told CTV News, “We can definitely see our son in him. Some of the facial features would definitely be our son, so we could see similarities, very much so.

“We are just so pleased we have been able to help him, even though we had such a tragic loss, we were able to give someone else the benefit of our son.”

Richard’s groundbreaking surgery involved 150 doctors and nurses, and took 36 hours to complete.

Joshua Aversano

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