Despite a life-altering accident in 2018, Joe DiMeo's path led him to love with Jessica Koby after his groundbreaking transplant in 2020. His inspiring resilience fuels his pursuit of writing a book and embracing a fresh start.
Joe DiMeo, a man who claims to have undergone the "world's first face and double hand transplant" from a donor twice his age, finds love five years later.
In July 2018, Joe experienced a horrifying incident when his Dodge Challenger crashed and burst into flames.
As a result, the now 24-year-old not only had his fingertips amputated but also suffered third-degree burns covering 80% of his body.
In August 2020, Joe underwent an unprecedented 23-hour surgery, followed by 20 reconstructive plastic surgeries.
A 48-year-old male stroke victim generously provided Joe with a new face.
Five years later, Joe's path led him to discover true love with Jessica Koby, a 32-year-old girlfriend he connected with on Instagram. Jessica reached out to Joe after reading his story, sparking a meaningful connection.
Reflecting on his transformation, Joe, hailing from New Jersey, expressed, "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."
"This is who I am now and I came to terms with that quite quickly really."
"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."
"Nothing has changed besides my skin."
"Now it's really just amazing getting independence again."
"After surgery, I was like at 0% – I couldn't really do anything."
"Now I feel like I'm at 50%. I can cook, clean, do laundry and I can move my phone better."
"I didn't really think I could motivate people until someone DM'd me saying 'You saved me from suicide.'"
Joe and Jessica's love story blossomed through their shared affection for Boston Terrier dogs. They currently care for two adorable pups named Buster, who is 6 years old, and Kirkland, who is 7 years old.
As a nurse, Jessica admires Joe's unwavering positivity and the light he brings despite everything he has endured.
"I love Joe inside and out because he is a funny guy, he knew what he wanted in life and was very mature for his age," she said.
The accident took place in Hillside, New Jersey, in July 2018 when Joe was driving home after a night shift at a food testing lab. Unfortunately, he fell asleep at the wheel, leading to the incident.
The groundbreaking surgery, which had only been attempted twice before, took place in August 2020 at NYU Langone Hospital in New York City. It involved a team of 140 surgeons, nurses, and support staff working together to achieve its success.
Joe added: "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."
"I could do a pity party but that's just not me."
"I'm writing a book so I want to get that out, we're looking at houses because our apartment is just too small for us right now, and I'd like to get my own car."
"I'll be on medication for the rest of my life. I take like 15 pills a day."
"The main three just prevent my transplants from being rejected and the rest are just electrolytes that all the transplant meds take away."