Andy Sandness was feeling depressed and was drinking too much in 2006 and two days before Christmas he tried to take his own life. The then 21-year-old Sandess took a rifle, placed the barrel under his chin and fired.
<img src="https://media.8ch.net/file_store/6a0e94d2bcd1f523f0b1c9096e03e03fbb2a9e4ff515a181b1f76ac4eeccb4c5.jpg" style="max-height:640px;max-width:360px;">
<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Credit: Charlie Neibergall</span>
He knew he had made a mistake and he somehow survived and called the police. When officers arrived he told them, "Please, please don’t let me die! I don’t want to die!"
Fast forward 10 years later, another 21-year-old, this one in rural Minnesota, pulled the trigger and killed himself leaving behind his 19-year-old wife who was eight months pregnant. Calen “Rudy” Ross was an organ donor and so his heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys could be donated.
An additional screening process determined his body could do more, his face was a good match for a man waiting for a face transplant, the now 31-year-old Sandess.
Mrs. Ross was skeptical about the process saying, "I was skeptical at first, I didn’t want to walk around and all of a sudden see Calen." The doctors reassured her that the recipient had his own eyes and forehead so he would not be recognizable as her late husband.
The operation took 56 hours and was carried out in late June 2016. A year later Mrs. Ross would come face-to-face with her husband's old face. In a tearful moment, Mr. Sandness told Mrs. Ross, "I wanted to show you that your gift will not be wasted."
The pair hugged and she touched his face, relieved that he didn't look like her late husband with the exception of a patch of missing beard where hair wouldn't grow.
Mrs. Ross explained to the new owner of the beard, "That's why he always grew it so long, so he could try to mesh it together on the chin."
Mr. Sandness said, "I wouldn't go out in public. I hated going into bigger cities, 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."
Finally, Mrs. Ross could experience some closure, "Meeting Andy, it has finally given me closure. Everything happened so fast."
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