Amazing changes continue for face transplant patient

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on September 26, 2011 at 5:17 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 27 at 8:55 AM

FORT WORTH — Dallas Wiens no longer has to hide the fact that he has no eyes.

Taking off his dark sunglasses, he reveals acrylic eye implants. It's the latest physical enhancement in his amazing transformation.

He surprised his four-year-old daughter Scarlett with the new look when he returned from a checkup last week.

"My real eyes used to be hazel," Wiens said. "Scarlett's favorite color is pink, so she would've been happier if I'd have gone with pink eyes."

But his daughter offered her reassurance with a hug and a kiss. "I love it," Scarlett said.

Wiens was left without any facial features after his head came into contact with a high-tension electrical line as he worked at a Fort Worth church in 2008.

After being airlifted to the Parkland Memorial Hospital burn unit in Dallas, doctors warned the Wiens family that Dallas would likely not survive.

Now, six months after becoming the nation's first full face transplant patient, doctors are thrilled with Wiens' progress.

Feeling continues to grow along as his body regenerates nerve endings. Despite not having teeth, he is just 20 pounds away from his ideal weight.

And he is getting stronger every day.

"I'm completely able to do whatever it is I want to do," Wiens said. "I go anywhere, and people are fantastic."

Wiens now believes his calling is to raise money for face transplant research. He's established a non-profit called About Face.

"To me, the heart of helping other people have their lives change in that way, is just an honor for me," Wiens said. "It blesses you in the end when you decide you want to bless someone else."

For his unwavering optimism, despite the dangerous and difficult journey, Wiens was honored by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons with the Patients of Courage Award.

His daughter agrees he is deserving. "You're so brave, Daddy," Scarlett said.

Wiens will be the beneficiary of a charity bike ride hosted by the Southlake Lions Club on Saturday. They are hoping to raise $50,000 or more to help purchase a service dog for Dallas.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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