When your child wants to be an organ and tissue donor to help other people, yet his body is riddled with cancer and the toxic chemicals used to treat that cancer, we thought no one will receive this gift so lovingly and hopefully offered.
Patrick Pruitt's sight was restored with a cornea transplant when he was just 6 years old. Today, Patrick is celebrating 30 years with the same cornea. In that time, he has shared his story with countless others, served on the Eversight Michigan Advisory Board and pursued a challenging career in academia.
This living online memorial honors those who changed lives by giving of themselves through eye, organ and tissue donation. Read their stories as shared by those who loved and remember them.
Gerry Bouey wanted a job. As the third child of six in a blue-collar Detroit home, the 12-year-old figured he needed to find work, just like his older brother and sister had when they turned 12. There was one significant difference between Gerry and his siblings: he was legally blind.
Colton’s accident, while scary, is actually not all that rare: According to the US Eye Injury Registry, eye injuries are second only to cataracts as the most common cause of visual impairment.
Duaa Babekr was just 4 when she began experiencing vision problems. Realizing their daughter would have to struggle to do what came naturally to other kids was heartbreaking for her parents, but they tried to stay positive.
Born with congenital glaucoma, Lily Schlafauser has dealt with eye problems since birth. She underwent her first cornea transplant at just 15 months old. Inspired by their experience, she and her mother have become Eversight Ambassadors to spread the word about eye, organ and tissue donation.
Alicia Linde was 16 years old when she was diagnosed with glaucoma. Suddenly, as a high school student, she was thrown into a world of eye tests, doctor visits and the prospect of losing her sight in just a matter of years.
Connor Walsh dreamt of a career in the criminal justice field. It was while working as an EMT that Connor felt the impact of saving someone’s life. Not long after signing up to be an eye, organ and tissue donor, he told his dad, “When I owe the future no more, it’s another way for me to pay it forward.”
One of Barbara Van Dorn’s two cornea transplants has a small, barely noticeable “S” stamp. The marker helps physicians position the ultrathin cornea during the surgical process. But for Barbara, the “S” means something else entirely.
When Jan Phillips lost her sight, she thought to herself, “What am I missing the most? What would I do if I could see again?” Thanks to eye donation and corneal transplantation, she traveled the world performing as a classical singer, dotes on her grandchildren and has campaigned for Eversight.
Surgeons from Pakistan, Palestine and Jordan are taking lessons learned at Eversight back to their home countries to help thousands of people who cannot afford the care they need.
“Every donation is important—every single one,” says Patrice Fort, PhD, neuroscientist and Eversight research partner. “Getting more people to understand the importance of research can give hope to those who are struggling with their vision and need our help.”