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Face transplant patient celebrates life in public

In a series of four photos provided by

In a series of four photos provided by the University of Maryland Medical Center and a June 18, 2013, Associated Press photo, face transplant recipient Richard Norris, the recipient of the most extensive face transplant performed to date, is seen in a prom photo, from left to right, a photo taken before his face transplant, a photo made six days after the transplant and a photo made 114 days after the transplant. Norris received the transplant in a 36-hour operation in March 2012. It included the replacement of both jaws, teeth, tongue, and skin and underlying nerve and muscle tissue from scalp to neck. Norris was injured in a gun accident in 1997. Photo Credit: AP

In the 15 years between a shotgun blast that ravaged the bottom half of Richard Norris' face and the face transplant that ended a hermit-like life for him, the man from rural southwest Virginia faced cruelty from strangers, fought addiction and contemplated suicide.

In a series of four photos provided by
Photo Credit: AP

In a series of four photos provided by the University of Maryland Medical Center and a June 18, 2013, Associated Press photo, face transplant recipient Richard Norris, the recipient of the most extensive face transplant performed to date, is seen in a prom photo, from left to right, a photo taken before his face transplant, a photo made six days after the transplant and a photo made 114 days after the transplant. Norris received the transplant in a 36-hour operation in March 2012. It included the replacement of both jaws, teeth, tongue, and skin and underlying nerve and muscle tissue from scalp to neck. Norris was injured in a gun accident in 1997.

Richard Norris speaks with a psychiatrist during a
Photo Credit: AP

Richard Norris speaks with a psychiatrist during a visit to the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. (June 18, 2013)

Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, who led the surgical team
Photo Credit: AP

Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, who led the surgical team that performed Richard Norris' face transplant, photographs Norris at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. (June 18, 2013)

Richard Norris, center, speaks with Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez,
Photo Credit: AP

Richard Norris, center, speaks with Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, who led the surgical team that performed Norris' face transplant, during a visit at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. (June 18, 2013)

Richard Norris sits in the office of Dr.
Photo Credit: AP

Richard Norris sits in the office of Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, who led the surgical team that performed Norris' face transplant, at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. (June 18, 2013)

Richard Norris's skin is inspected by Dr. Eduardo
Photo Credit: AP

Richard Norris's skin is inspected by Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, who led the surgical team that performed Norris' face transplant, during a visit at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. (June 18, 2013)

Richard Norris looks out from the porch of
Photo Credit: AP

Richard Norris looks out from the porch of his home in Hillsville, Va. The man whose face was disfigured by a gunshot spent 15 years as a recluse, but now the 37-year-old is doing things he never would have before. (June 25, 2013)

Richard Norris, right, shows friend Andrew Kahle how
Photo Credit: AP

Richard Norris, right, shows friend Andrew Kahle how to load line into a fly fishing rod at Norris' home in Hillsville, Va. (June 25, 2013)

Richard Norris fishes in a stream near his
Photo Credit: AP

Richard Norris fishes in a stream near his home in Hillsville, Va. (June 25, 2013)

Richard Norris talks to a friend after fishing
Photo Credit: AP

Richard Norris talks to a friend after fishing in a stream near his home in Hillsville, Va. (June 25, 2013)

Richard Norris, right, shows friend Andrew Kahle how
Photo Credit: AP

Richard Norris, right, shows friend Andrew Kahle how to load line into a fly fishing rod at Norris' home in Hillsville, Va. (June 25, 2013)

Richard Norris ties a fishing fly at his
Photo Credit: AP

Richard Norris ties a fishing fly at his home in Hillsville, Va. The man whose face was disfigured by a gunshot spent 15 years as a recluse, but now the 37-year-old is doing things he never would have before. (June 25, 2013)

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