Every November, we join our Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA) colleagues to celebrate the life-changing impact of cornea donation and transplantation—and recognize all those who donate the gift of sight for others for transplantation or critically needed vision research.
This year, Eye Donation Month places special focus on celebrating “A Community of Compassion.” It’s an extraordinary community when you stop to think about it—all those who register as donors, who give and receive the gift of sight, philanthropists and advocates supporting this work, and all those working in donation and transplantation, all driven to #RestoreSight worldwide.
We recently shared a Facebook post about one of our Eversight tissue recovery technicians, talking about this work we do and why he cares so much. The response from our online community was so positive that we invited a few more of our colleagues to talk about their part in our “Community of Compassion” here at Eversight.
Here’s what they had to say.
‘I love sharing what I do with others’
“It's not easy to explain when someone asks you, ‘So what do you do for work?’” said Julie McGahey, a manager in Eversight’s Donation Support Center.
“But it gets a conversation about donation going, which is a good thing. My favorite part of working at Eversight specifically is the people I work with. We build tight relationships and I have a strong team I can always count on."
Eversight’s 24/7 Donation Support Center (DSC) team is at the front of every donation: screening potential donors, speaking with families about the opportunity to donate, and coordinating with funeral homes, hospitals and medical examiners when a donation takes place, as well as dispatching clinical recovery staff for every recovery procedure.
“Our department has the privilege of speaking with donor families,” Julie says. “We get to offer them an opportunity to move forward with eye donation and their loved one's wish.”
Julie joined Eversight and eye banking in 2012. “I was a social worker before I started working in eye banking. Speaking to hospitals, donor families and our partners in the donation world is a form of social work. I get to learn about individuals, provide hope in a dark moment and support my colleagues through challenges.”
‘We see how important it is’
Paul Aldrich, who works with Julie as a supervisor in the DSC, shared a similar perspective. “I enjoy talking to families and receiving phone calls from grateful recipients. I love that Eversight is able to help so many people,” he said.
A medical assistant before he joined Eversight 11 years ago, Paul says, "I love that we are helping those in need in regaining their independence. It is easy to take eyesight for granted, but especially in my field, we see how important it is for people to have a fulfilling life.”
‘The work we do makes a difference’
At all levels and locations across the country and from our office in Seoul, South Korea, our Eversight colleagues echo that connection, even if their roles don’t mean they get to work directly with the families of donors or recipients of donors’ gifts.
James Forney was a funeral director and embalmer before he joined Eversight in 2019 as a clinical recovery technician in Ohio. From his perspective, becoming an eye tissue donor to help others in need is one of the best ways to leave a legacy.
“By donating or pledging eyes, givers help the blind regain their sight, and the ability to manage their lives individually and see their loved ones and their surroundings,” he says.
Caithlin Lopes is a director with our Partner Relations team, working with cornea transplant surgeons who rely on us to provide sight-restoring tissue for their patients. She points out simply: “I love knowing that the work we do makes a difference in someone's life.”
Make a difference this Eye Donation Month
Here at Eversight, we consider all of you part of our “Community of Compassion” as well—the families, surgeons, researchers, business partners, community advocates, philanthropic contributors and so many others that join us in our mission every day to restore sight and prevent blindness through the healing power of donation, transplantation and research.
As part of our community, this month, please join us in celebrating the gift of sight and encouraging others to register as eye, organ and tissue donors. Find and share links to the donor registry in your state at eversightvision.org/join.
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