david rodebaugh and patrick hardison

Capture 1 BMX face transplant

david rodebaugh passing gives new life

Earlier this year, the tragic news was announced that New York local and BMXer David Rodebaugh had passed away after a severe head injury.

Rodebaugh was well known for ripping on the bike, winning Red Bull’s Minidrome comp in Brooklyn in 2014, and the BMX world mourned his loss.

But the Rodebaugh story didn’t end there, because even though he passed away last summer, Dave has done an amazing thing – literally giving his face to Patrick Hardison, a firefighter burned on duty in a transplant carried out at the NYU Langone Medical Centre in Manhattan.

Capture 1 BMX face transplant 3

Capture 1 BMX face transplant 3

Hardison had lived for 14 years without the ability to protect his corneas and protect his vision. The transplant has allowed him to protect his eyes and he’s expected to regain almost full speech and facial control within a year.

The stunning news has gone absolutely viral in the past few days, with NY Mag releasing an in depth story explaining how Hardison was told he only had a 50 percent chance of surviving the procedure.

The face transplant isn’t the first of its kind; that happened back in 2005 in France, but Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, leader of the surgical team on Hardison’s transplant, has said that his has been the most successful so far in terms of transferring extensive amounts of tissue.

Capture 1 BMX face transplant 2

Capture 1 BMX face transplant 2

"The procurement of the face took approximately 12 hours, the preparation of Patrick's face took approximately 8 hours," he told ABC 7. "The face was brought from the donor room to the recipient room. This was a well-synchronized, executed procedure, one that we had rehearsed for so many times."

The surgery took place on August 14 and lasted a fully 26 hours. While Dr. Rodriguez says that he will need further procedures, he also noted that Hardison is recovering well thus far.

The transplant reached from the top of the firefighter’s head over his skull and down to the collarbones in front, reaching far enough back that only a small amount of Hardison’s hair remains. There are no scars on the newly transferred tissue because the seam of the transplant is down the back of the skull.

Talking about how Dave Rodebaugh was selected as a donar, Helen Irving, CEO of the organ recovery organization “Live on New York" involved, said: “His mother immediately said ‘yes’. There was no hesitation in her mind – you see her son had always wanted to be a fireman."

In doing so, Dave donated his face to a man who had lost his trying to save others in a burning building. A remarkable story indeed.

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