In this June 10, 2016 photo provided by the Mayo Clinic, Andy Sandness, right, talks with his father, Reed Sandness, and Dr. Samir Mardini, left, before Andy's face transplant procedure at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. In the process leading up to the surgery, Mardini tried to temper his patient's enthusiasm. "Think very hard about this," he said. Only a few dozen transplants have been done around the world, and he wanted Andy to understand the risks and the aftermath: a lifelong regimen of anti-rejection drugs. But Sandness could hardly contain himself. "How long until I can do this?" he asked. (Eric M. Sheahan/Mayo Clinic via AP)

Just ten years ago, Andy Sandness tried to commit suicide by shooting himself in the face. But he lived, and regretted it instantly. So surviving was a miracle. But the damage done, would almost seem unrepairable. But he has now been given one of the rarest surges in the world. A face transplant.

60 surgeons, nurses and anesthesiologists and others came together to perform a 56-hour surgery for his transplant. This transplant included his nose, cheeks, mouth, lips, jaw, chin and teeth, and it all came from one person. Calen Ross, who had fatally committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

Andy Sandness before the accident…

Ross’ wife Lilly was eight months pregnant at the time, and she decided to carry out her husbands wishes of being an organ donor. She meet with LifeSource, and they reassured her that just because they were using facial organs and tissue from her deceased husband, Andy wouldn’t look anything like Calen.

The doctors thought it would take almost five years to find a match and donor for Sandness, but just five months after being added to the waiting list, they got the call about Ross.

After they set up a date for the surgery, it was all planning. And as soon as the surgery was done, Dr. Mardini said that the extremely complicated surgery was a “miracle.”

And Sandness knew 3 months after the surgery that it was a success, because a little boy looked at him, and didn’t seem scared. And Andy and Lily are one day hoping to meet.

Andy Sandness after surgery…

“Once you lose something that you’ve had forever, you know what its like not to have it. And once you get a second chance to have it back, you never forget it,” said Andy.

We are so thankful that the surgery was successful, and we wish Andy the best. We also give our sincerest gratitude to Lily for providing Andy with a second chance.

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