Stories

Helping Someone Else See the Beauty in Life

Shannon was a mother, daughter, sister, niece, friend, patient, survivor, reader, music lover, writer and thinker.

At age twenty-five, she was diagnosed with stage four metastatic breast cancer, but she was fearless! She would inspire others with the way she faced the news and all that it meant.

In the end she made the decision to donate her body to science and her eyes, those beautiful blue eyes, are helping someone else see the beauty in life as she did.

To quote someone she’ll have an eternal crush on, James Dean, “Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.”

A Good Man Gives the Greatest Gift

There are so many wonderful things that I can say about my husband, John Grantham, but the main thing is that he was a good man.  

A loving husband, father and grandfather who took joy in the simple things in life; like a day out in the boat fishing when he didn’t catch a single fish; enjoying a family gathering with good food or a good single malt scotch!  He was a simple man who enjoyed family and the beauty of a colorful sunrise rather than the lights of a big city. Traveling with him meant driving around and looking at the amazing scenery in the places we traveled.

He was a truly wonderful person and I hope recipients of his gift will enjoy seeing the world as much as he did.  He left a hole that can never be filled.

A Humble Thank You

I am 86 years old and have received four corneal transplants due to Fuch’s Distrophy.

My first was in 1985, then a second in 2000, and replaedments in 2014 and 2016.

I am ever reminded of all that I would have missed over the years wihtout these gifts of sight, including enjoying my independence, continuing my nursing career, and seeing my grandchildren and now great-grandchildren.

These are just a few of the reasons I am so grateful to donors/families, skilled surgeons, and all who ha d apart in giving me the gift of sight.

I do humbly say, Thank you!

A Smile Living on Forever

Eugene D. Jackson was an extraordinary husband, a devoted father and a doting grandfather.

For “Jack” (as he was affectionately called), his family along with his church family and friends were his greatest joy! We all felt his love and compassion. He shared that love with a smile that would light up a room.

Now, his smile lives on in the individual he gave the gift of sight through eye donation. We all feel that we are better people for having known this wonderful man of God. He left a profound impact on his family-and on every life he touched.

Even in death, he changed lives-for the better. Jack was able to enhance countless lives through invaluable research.

Loving Fiercely

Dru Elizabeth, at the age of ten, impacted many. 

The memories of her big blue eyes, sweet and spitfire spirit continue to impact us today. Dru was a beautiful blonde with a very caring personality. She was also a fighter who defended and spoke for her brothers… all the time. She was the life of a party with her family and friends, on the soccer field, and softball field.

Most important – Dru loved fiercely! Now that personality impacts her cornea recipients. What a GIFT to be loved by Dru Elizabeth.

Thankful for Donors

I was having a lot of eye problems (Fuchs Dystrophy, Keratoconus, Pellucid Marginal Degeneration). My vision was getting worse and my days were blurry. It was a daily struggle at home and especially at work. I thought I would have to leave my job and worried about my family finances.

When my doctor told me about a Cornea Transplant I struggled with the thought of having a transplant and knowing someone would have to leave this world for me to have the surgery.

Today two years later I’ve had a Cornea Transplant in both eyes. The surgeries went well and I’m grateful to ones who chose to be donors. Being a donor can help so many people. I thank God everyday to be able to see. I’m thankful for the doctor who performed the surgery, the staff that played a part in this process, the Doctor that does my follow up care and also a thank you to the families of the donors

Seeing the Beauty of the World

Clint Moore was the most open-minded, sincere and caring soul. He garnered amazing friends that brought joy to his life.

He loved traveling abroad, astronomy, physics, debating politics and the meaning of life.

He was a comedian, a prankster, a shoulder to cry on and an inspiration.

Through the act of cornea donation, I hope someone was, also, able to see the beauty of this world through my son’s eyes.

Proud of the Legacy and Gift Andre Has Given

Andre Wright was a loving, kind person that could light up the room with his smile. 

He loved God, his family, his friends and the ministry of music. He had many visions for himself, his church and his gospel groups and worked to bring them to reality

Even in death, he allowed his work to speak for itself when he left his vision behind through the gift of giving one of his most precious gifts from God to change the ending to someones story. We are proud of this Loving son, brother, uncle and friend to all who met him for the Legacy and Gift he has left behind.

I Can See Clearly Now

Two very generous donors & their families have given me the precious gift of sight through cornea transplants in September 2010 & October 2012.  Words alone are not enough to express my joy and deep appreciation to them, to Dr Thomas Heigle and to the BR Regional Eye Bank for all of their tremendous work leading to the success of not only my transplants, but also for those of many others just like me in our area!  

My life is enriched daily in so many ways by improved vision. I treasure big & small wonders such as seeing the faces of friends & family, reading menus & signs, threading a needle and seeing when my cooked food is browned. Sadly, I lived many years with cloudy corneas due to Fuch’s Dystrophy.  

But now, my song is:

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles in my way Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind It’s gonna be a bright, bright Sun-Shiny day.

My Hero, Alexis

Alexis was always full of life.  

She was loved by everyone that knew her.  She had an infectious smile that would light up anyone’s day.  Her passion for dance was beyond measure. She loved chasing sunsets to get the perfect pictures.  She had a large circle of friends that will never forget her and the impact she made on their lives.  She was always on the go and now I know why, she had lots to do and plenty lives to touch in her short 14 years of life on earth.  

We miss her every day but have some comfort in knowing that someone is seeing the world and sunsets through her eyes.

Also through organ donation she saved 3 lives. She is my HERO!!!!  

Dear Donor … From Jeff

To the Donor’s Family,

Hi, my name is Jeff and my mother (Phyllis) passed away on December 7, 2011. My mother was 59 years old, a diabetic and also had heart problems.

Phyllis was married to my father (Carl) for almost 42 years and had 3 kids (Jeff, Jeremy, and Jared). Phyllis’s mother and father (Victor and Naomi) were still living when she passed away. Phyllis has two brothers and two sisters (Rodney, Frank, Linda, and Lauri). Phyllis also had two daughters-in-law (Rachel and Jessica) and 5 grandchildren (Jacob, Caleb, Grace, Emory, and Brock). Phyllis worked at several different jobs in her life, but the most important and longest job she held was the one as a homemaker.

I loved my mom and she was a very good mother, grandmother, friend and person in general. In my 40 years of life with my mom, I never once heard her complain of anything or anyone. Phyllis enjoyed being with her family.  Phyllis also enjoyed attending her grandkids’ sporting events and dance recitals. Phyllis also enjoyed reading books.

The passing of my mom has deeply affected me and my family in several different ways. There is a void in the family that we will never be able to fill.

The gift of donation is one that we have been proud of making. As I received the word from the doctor that my mom had passed away, I immediately was in consideration of donating my mom’s living organs to give someone else the gift of life. I never really thought about having to do something like donating a family member’s organs, until sitting at the hospital for several hours. While sitting at the hospital I began to read the stories on the outside wall of the waiting room. Once I read the stories it was a given on what to do when they asked me after my mom had passed.

Since the passing of my mom, I have been reading the articles on the LOPA website and it brings me to tears. My tears are tears of joy knowing that we have helped someone. Just before Christmas we received a letter stating that both of my mom’s corneas have been implanted into two people to restore their vision.

Our family’s dream now would be to possibly meet the person or persons that have received the precious gift of sight from my loving mom. My mom would be proud and would not have had it done any other way.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and hopefully our family will get a chance to meet you.

Thanks: Jeff

Many Thanks … Cornea Transplant

To the Donor’s Family,

I received a cornea transplant on the afternoon of October 3, 2012. I am able to write this letter because of you and your dear loved one’s generosity and compassion for your fellow man. You have demonstrated your caring nature for other people. For this, I and my family will forever be grateful.

I know I will never be able to repay you for this act of kindness, which I am sure that was never your intent. Every day for the rest of my life, I will be thankful for this most precious gift I have ever received equal to life itself. Because of your unselfish action, you have inspired us to look for ways to help others.

If you will agree, I would like to meet and thank you in person. If that is not your desire, I understand.

Thanks a MILLION,

Carroll

Blake’s Dad’s Story

Hello,

I wanted to drop you a card to let you know that I’ve thought about you a lot in the past fourteen months.  My son Blake died in an automobile accident on November 4, 2009.  He was only twenty years old.  My world was turned upside down and I know that my life has changed forever.

Blake was a beautiful young man.  So full of life.  He loved LSU football, hunting, fishing, and he loved people.  He was my “little buddy”.  At the time of his death he was about 6’ 3” tall so he wasn’t very little anymore.  But he will always be my little boy.  It does my heart good that something positive came from my son’s death.  I’m glad that because my son chose to be an organ donor that it has helped to improve your quality of life.  I’ve enclosed a picture of Blake because I’m not sure that just my words do justice to trying to describe him.

I hope that one day I can meet you, to be able to look into your eyes and to see that part of my baby lives on.

God bless.

Seeing a Brighter Future

Dear Donor Family,

First and foremost, words are not enough to comfort you for the loss of your loved one.

Second and equally important I thank you and your loved one for the donation of the cornea I have received. It is an honor and a privilege to carry a part of your loved one.

I would like you to know how your gift is helping. I needed the cornea transplant to replace my cornea damaged and covered by scar tissue as the result of RK surgery. So in one way I will be having my vision restored. More importantly with this new cornea I am able to continue my work.

I am a reading tutor. I teach elementary children how to read. I don’t know what your loved one did in her life but now she is enriching the lives of the future.
I understand that this must have been a bittersweet situation for all of you but please know that I cherish and deeply appreciate your gift.
My Sincere Gratitude,
Patricia, One Blessed Recipient Seeing a Brighter Future

Share Your Story

If you are a cornea recipient or the family of a donor, please contact [email protected]

to submit your story and picture.