Face transplant recipient Richard Lee Norris, the recipient of the most extensive face transplant performed to date, is seen a photo taken before the face transplant, left, and in a photo made 114 days after the transplant was performed. Norris, 37, was injured in a gun accident in 1997. / AP
BALTIMORE (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.
Now, at 38, he's starting a new life: taking online classes in pursuit of a degree in information systems and contemplating a foundation to help defray future transplant patients' everyday expenses during treatment.
He also has been working with a photojournalist who just completed a book about his journey, titled "The Two Faces of Richard."
He hopes his story sends a message of hope to people in similar situations and encourages empathy in others.
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