[06/20/13 - 08:17 AM]
"Ann Curry Reports: A Face in the Crowd" Airs Friday, June 28 at 10P/9C
The one-hour special "tells the remarkable story of courage, faith, improbable decisions, and an extraordinary transformation."

[via press release from NBC]



June 20, 2013 - New York, NY - In an Ann Curry Report: A Face in the Crowd airing Friday, June 28 at 10p/9c, Ann Curry tells the remarkable story of courage, faith, improbable decisions, and an extraordinary transformation.

When he was 22 years old, Richard Norris suffered an accidental shotgun blast into his face that left him extremely disfigured. After living for 15 years as a recluse, Norris chose to risk a groundbreaking face transplant surgery with the hope that he and others like him, including America's wounded warriors, would benefit. For the first time, viewers will hear from Norris in his own words, the donor's parents, and the physician who made medical history.

When Norris first met Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez at Baltimore's Shock Trauma Center, the Department of Defense was funding research to treat severe injuries in troops returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Luckily for Norris, some of that funding made its way to Dr. Rodriguez and would pay for his face transplant. In return for the chance to get his life back, Norris was prepared to risk his life, hoping wounded warriors might benefit from any knowledge gained from his transplant surgery.

After years of research and meticulous preparation, Norris was ready for surgery. All he needed was a matching donor. In March 2012 a young man who had just joined the Marines was struck by a van and taken to Shock Trauma - the same hospital where Norris was being treated -- where doctors determined he would not survive his brain injuries. As it turned out the young Marine was an exact match for Norris and once the young man's parents heard about Norris' story, they made the difficult decision to donate their son's face to him.

Norris, now 38 years old, underwent the most comprehensive and successful face transplant surgery in history. It far surpassed expectations and he now has a second chance at a normal life.

Following are sound bites from the report. If used, mandatory credit is required: "Ann Curry Reports: A Face in the Crowd, Friday, June 28"

DR. EDUARDO RODRIGUEZ: And he looks in that mirror and he looks at himself. It was probably one of the most emotional moments for me and for all of us in that room to see him.

ANN CURRY: Do you remember what he said?

DR. EDUARDO RODRIGUEZ: Yea, he thanked me and he hugged me.

CYNTHIA SHAFFER, DIRECTOR OF CLINICAL RESEARCH FOR DR. RODRIGUEZ: There wasn't a dry eye in the house. It was -- it was very emotional.

ANN CURRY: Because you knew he didn't just get his face back.

CYNTHIA SHAFFER: This was the start of his life again.

DR. EDUARDO RODRIGUEZ: It's the most extensive and most comprehensive face transplant in medical history.


GWEN AVERSANO (THE DONOR's MOTHER): I know people say that he doesn't look like Joshua, I however can see Joshua in him. Which made it a little difficult.

ANN CURRY: And did you reach out and hug him?

GWEN AVERSANO: Yes, when he came in, yes I did.

ANN CURRY: Were you hugging your son?

GWEN AVERSANO: Yes, I feel like a part of him was there. Sayin' that he was ok. Hugging him (Richard) - I felt like I was very close to Joshua one more time.

RANDY AVERSANO (THE DONOR'S FATHER): It was just amazing that, you know - in the midst of a terrible tragedy, you know, God could do something wonderful.


Alexandra Wallace is executive producer, Justin Balding is the senior producer and Ann Curry is the managing editor and anchor of Ann Curry Reports. Follow us at @AnnCurry, facebook.com/anncurry, google.com/+anncurry, youtube.com/anncurry and instagram.com/anncurry.

  [june 2013]  

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