An emotional meeting took place at the Mayo Clinic library in Rochester, Minn. last month that was more like a reunion, as Lilly Ross met Andy Sandness, the faceplant recipient whose donor was her deceased husband.
The two walked toward each other and embraced in an emotional moment, and Ross says the meeting has not only given her closure, but now Sandness is just like family.
Andy Sandness, 32, of Wyoming, and Calen “Rudy” Ross, had much in common. They both loved the outdoors, hunting and fishing. And they both had a dark struggle, with one attempting suicide and the other succeeding at it.
In 2006, Sandness shot himself below his chin and destroyed most of his face. Realizing he had made a mistake, he begged the doctors to save him, and fought to live.
Ten years later, Ross was married to Lilly, his highschool sweetheart, who was eight months pregnant, when he shot himself and died in Minnesota.
Ross was an organ donor, and his age, blood type, skin color and facial structure were almost a perfect match for Sandness. Lilly consented to allowing him to be a donor for a man needing a face transplant, saying she wanted their child to someday understand what his father had done to help others.
The 56-hour surgery occurred over a year ago, and now Lilly Ross and Andy Sandness have met for the first time.
Watch video footage before of the moving moment.
The following video was published by the Associated Press on February 16, 2017, telling the story of the two men, but before Lilly Ross met Sandness.