In the year since the transplant, Hardison has fared better than his doctors could have expected. He’s had four smaller surgeries since, to tweak his eyelids and mouth, and to remove the breathing and feeding tubes. Most notably, his body has shown no signs of rejecting the new tissue, a risk with any transplant but especially one that involved so much tissue. Rodriguez attributes the lack of rejection in part to Hardison’s strict adherence to the medical protocol—he takes his immunosuppressants as he should (in fact, his doctors have dramatically lowered his dosage in the past year), and he is careful in the sun, since sunburn can trigger rejection. The other reason for the transplant’s success, Rodriguez says, was the careful selection of the donor to match Hardison’s blood type and immune cells called antigens, along with his skin tone and hair color.