It was a Monday evening when Robert Chelsea was driving to his Los Angeles home when his car overheated. He pulled to the side of the freeway to wait for help when a drunk driver slammed into his car, which exploded on impact.

Robert was in a coma for six months and hospitalized for 18 months with severe burns covering the majority of his face and body. Facial tissue, including his lips were burned off. He has endured more than 30 surgeries.

In July 2019, after years of tests and physical and psychological evaluations, and a longer than usual wait for a donor, Robert underwent a 16-hour full face transplant at Brigham and Women?s Hospital. At 64, he became the first Black patient, and the oldest in the world, to receive a full-face transplant.

Today, as he seeks to raise money to help pay for that surgery, Robert also operates the Robert Chelsea Foundation which is dedicated to increasing awareness of the benefits of the donation of organs, limbs, bone marrow and certain stem cells.

We will talk about all of that today.

Here are some questions we asked Robert:

1.You?ve had one of the toughest experiences imaginable. Please tell us what happened.
2.I can?t imagine the pain you must have endured?
3.Before your accident, what was your life like? What did you do? How did that change?
4.What was it like after your surgery, when you looked in the mirror at your new face?
5.Did you have family support?
6.How did you cover the cost?
7.Tell us about the Robert Chelsea Foundation and what you do there.
8.How can people help?
9.You say that you?re looking for additional platforms to discuss the importance of becoming organ donors, to speak and share your story. What do you have in mind?
10.You also said you hope to become a ?gateway? of support and comfort to potential donor families. What?s the plan for this?
11.You close your email with this quote: "God places flowers upon each of our door steps, sometimes we must be that flower." Explain.
Take a listen.

Comments & Upvotes