Ann Curry Reports | June 29, 2013
>> and a whole lot more. go further.
>>> after a bold surgery in which richard risked his life to push the boundaries of medical science , richard is living a new life. cynthia witnessed richard 's transformation as he became accustomed to living with his new face. describe the change from one to the other.
>> i actually think that he looked a lot like his former self. i saw a lot of that there. he's kind of a mix between both. i actually think that he and joshua looked a lot alike.
>> in maryland after joshua 's parents heard richard 's face transplant was a request. they sent a request.
>> the request was the donor's mother would like to know if she could have an updated picture of richard . he said you know she's probably wondering how much i look like him and i said i'm sure she is.
>> when they received the picture randy and gwen decided to insight he and richard 's family to their home. on the day of the meeting randy and gwen were beyond nervous.
>> it sounded like you were nervous because you didn't know what you would feel.
>> your mind tells you what you're going to expect, but you really don't know until that actual moment is presented before you.
>> cynthia was also invited to this private meeting. there was a lot of depth in this, a woman would loses her boy.
>> to see his face walk through the door one more time, yeah.
>> on the appointed day in april, richard and his family arrive at randy and gwen 's maryland home and walked up their driveway.
>> i think the toughest time is when they walked through the door.
>> it's interesting. josh was here and richard -- josh's hair and richard 's hair are so blended you can't tell one from the other.
>> all the while looking at richard .
>> i can see joshua in him which made it a little difficult.
>> did you reach out and hug him.
>> when he came in, yes, i did.
>> were you hugging your son?
>> yes, i feel like that part of him was there saying that he was okay. hugging him, i felt like i was very close to joshua one more time.
>> it was just amazing that, you know, in the midst of a terrible tragedy, you know, god could do something wonderful.
>> god and a very good doctor.
>> that's for sure. that's for sure.
>> in april at his annual gala the shock trauma center celebrated all the medical staff, including those who tried to save joshua 's life and those who helped perform the transplant surgery . they also celebrated randy and gwen 's courageous decision. they say their son is the real hero. josh also changed the life of five other recipients, others that attended the gal a. richard was the guest of honor. with cynthia and dr. rodriguez by his side he showed his face with dignity and addressed more than 200 people despite his speaking difficulties. he made a point to thank his donor, joshua aversano.
>> i'll always thank you and your family for this gift of life . thank you.
>> while the gala was a chance for richard to honor joshua publicly, at home he maintains a private tribute, a photo of joshua on his bedroom wall.
>> every time i walk through this door, i'll see his face, and --
>> a man you never met but a manual be close to every day.
>> not just with your face.
>> not just with my face, in my heart, in my south. he's with me every day.
>> though richard never knew joshua he aspires, he says, to be worthy of a gift of a man who lived just 21 years but long enough to give him back his life. and that is our report tonight about a second chance for a young man who in spite of everything refused to give up. i'm ann curry , and for all of us here at nbc news, thank you and good night.