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“I survived the first face and hand transplant, and now I’ve found love”

Finally, he’s found a significant other to hold hands with.

The initial candidate to experience a facial and twin hand transplantation surgery that was a success has discovered love with a significant other after a few years of his remarkable procedure.

Joe DiMeo, who is currently 24 years old, experienced severe burns of the third degree to 80% of his body and underwent the removal of his finger tips subsequent to his Dodge Challenger colliding and bursting into fire in New Jersey during July of 2018.

DiMeo experienced 20 restorative cosmetic surgeries and skin transplants prior to doctors at New York University’s Langone medical facility executing the 23-hour synchronized transplant of the face and both hands in August 2020.

The remarkable tale of the youth intrigued Californian Jessica Koby, aged 32, who reached out to DiMeo on Instagram following news of the operation.

The duo speedily initiated a chat, at first connecting over a mutual adoration for Boston Terrier canines. Following the commencement of a relationship from afar, Koby made the choice to move to New Jersey in order to be nearer to DiMeo.

Koby, a nurse by profession, expressed astonishment at her partner’s resilience and positivity when confronted with his extraordinary difficulties.

“I love that he is gentle, kind and he is so courageous.” Koby swooned as she talked to Southwest News Service. “For everything he has gone through, he remains so positive and such a light.”

I survived the first face and hand transplant and now Ive found love
Joe DiMeo, currently 24 years old, experienced severe burns of the third degree to 80% of his body and lost the tips of his fingers following a collision and subsequent fire of his Dodge Challenger in New Jersey during July of 2018. (NYU)
I survived the first face and hand transplant and now Ive found love
DiMeo experienced 20 restorative cosmetic operations and skin transplants prior to doctors at New York University’s Langone medical center executing the 23-hour simultaneous transplant of the face and both hands in August 2020. (NYU)
I survived the first face and hand transplant and now Ive found love
The extraordinary medical tale attracted the interest of Jessica Koby, a Californian aged 32, who reached out to DiMeo via Instagram upon discovering the account of the surgery. Presently, the pair resides in the same abode.

“He is very knowledgeable and anyone he talks to he can carry a conversation with,” Koby said. “I really like that about him because I think that someone who is educated and speaks well is very attractive,” she added.

Koby, who is eight years senior to DiMeo, additionally asserted that her partner is both “humorous” and “very mature considering his age.”

In the meantime, a self-assured DiMeo expresses his unwavering belief that he would discover love despite the significant transformation in his looks.

“When I was burnt I was not looking for love but I was always confident it would happen eventually because I am the same on the inside,” DiMeo noted. “Nothing has changed besides my skin.”

The couple have already moved together with their two Boston Terriers and DiMeo has revealed that he is even driving again after his hand transplant — something he previously told The Post that he was dreaming of doing.

The pair has already relocated with their two Boston Terriers, and DiMeo has disclosed that he is now operating a vehicle once more following his hand graft, which he had previously expressed to as an aspiration of his.

“I can drive again,” DiMeo rejoiced. “I just drive my girlfriend’s Subaru Crosstrek.”

I survived the first face and hand transplant and now Ive found love
DiMeo was simply an average youth from New Jersey prior to the life-altering car accident in 2018. (Joe DiMeo / SWNS)
I survived the first face and hand transplant and now Ive found love
DiMeo’s vehicle ignited on fire, resulting in him suffering injuries on his facial area.
I survived the first face and hand transplant and now Ive found love
Koby, who is eight years senior to DiMeo, additionally asserted that her partner is both “humorous” and “very mature for his age.” (Joe DiMeo / SWNS)

Joe DiMeo has additionally disclosed fresh information regarding the donor of his recent facial transplant.

“My donor was a 48-year-old stroke victim from Delaware who died two days before my surgery,” 24-year-old DiMeo said.

DiMeo amusingly shared with Southwest News Service that he would have rather obtained a woman’s visage “just so I wouldn’t have to shave all the time” — yet he expresses immense gratitude towards his benefactor and the 140 healthcare experts who successfully accomplished the astonishing operation.

“It didn’t feel weird being given the face of someone nearly twice my age because I was just completely ready to start my life again,” he said. “This is who I am now and I came to terms with that quite quickly really.”

I survived the first face and hand transplant and now Ive found love
“People also look at me, which doesn’t bother me,” DiMeo mentioned. “I’m 6”1’ and wide and then on top of that I wear short sleeves a lot of the time so you can see my burnt arms. So I don’t mind people staring because I would stare too.”
(Joe DiMeo / SWNS)
I survived the first face and hand transplant and now Ive found love
“My donor was a 48-year-old stroke victim from Delaware who died two days before my surgery,” age 24 DiMeo said. “It didn’t feel weird being given the face of someone nearly twice my age because I was just completely ready to start my life again.” (AP Photo)

In spite of his boundless positivity, Joe DiMeo acknowledges that “fake friends” were lost after his vehicle accident, and he continues to encounter looks when he’s in the open.

“It was sad to see my fake friends all go but then you realize who your real friends are and you appreciate them more,” he said to Southwest News Service, exhibiting his unconquerable determination.

DiMeo said, “people also look at me, which doesn’t bother me. I’m 6”1’ and wide and then on top of that I wear short sleeves a lot of the time so you can see my burnt arms. So I don’t mind people staring because I would stare too.”.

Regarding the upcoming plans, DiMeo is presently working on publishing a book and is searching for a new home alongside Koby, as they desire additional room for their two Boston Terrier canines, Buster and Kirkland.

“I could do a pity party but that’s just not me,” he mentioned, and said he feels elevated with his girlfriend by his side.

I survived the first face and hand transplant and now Ive found love
A photograph of DiMeo is shown in a selfie taken before the car accident in 2018. (Joe DiMeo / SWNS)
I survived the first face and hand transplant and now Ive found love
DiMeo displays his recently acquired hands and face. His unwavering positivity has left a strong impact on everyone, ranging from the medical practitioners who operated on him to his newfound romantic partner. (James Messerschmidt)
I survived the first face and hand transplant and now Ive found love
“There’s always light at the end of the tunnel. Never give up and never let your appearance slow you down. Always look at the good things,” DiMeo stated. (James Messerschmidt)

Joe DiMeo’s car crash happened following him dozing off while driving on his route back from working a night shift in a food analysis facility in Hillside, New Jersey in July of 2018.

After a couple of years, DiMeo received the news that he would undergo a facial and dual transplant.

“I was ready for the transplant when it was offered to me,” DiMeo shared. “I didn’t want to live how I was living.”

A group of 140 doctors, medical assistants, and auxiliary personnel collaborated to successfully accomplish the innovative operation in August 2020, a procedure that had been tried on only two previous occasions.

The journey of Joe’s extensive rehabilitation was guided by Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, a distinguished cosmetic surgeon from NYU.

I survived the first face and hand transplant and now Ive found love
In the image, DiMeo is captured alongside his mother and father. At present, he is engaged in the process of publishing a book and eagerly anticipating what lies ahead. (AP Photo)

Dr. Rodriguez said of DiMeo, “his spirit is so strong.”

“There’s always light at the end of the tunnel,” Joe DiMeo stated. “Never give up and never let your appearance slow you down. Always look at the good things.”

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