When Alla was in school, she loved to play softball. Growing up in a small Kansas town in the 1920s, there wasn’t a girls’ team for her to play on. Short on players, Alla found herself playing catcher for the boys’ team. “The grandkids get a kick that grandma played on the boys’ team,” said Alla. Today, she enjoys spending time with her family, which includes four children and a slew of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Alla also enjoys her charcoal drawings, swimming and taking lots of walks with Skippy, her Miniature Schnauzer. “He’s so cute and looks out for me,” said Alla.
When Alla went in to the eye doctor to get new glasses, she was told glasses alone wouldn’t make her vision better. Her doctor recommended surgery to remove scar tissue from her right eye. Nearly 40 years ago, a tree limb came in the window of a moving car, hitting Alla in the face and eye. “It hurt but I didn’t think too much about it at the time. We’re assuming that’s what caused the scar tissue and, as I got older, it started to get worse,” she said.
Alla had the surgery, but removing the scar tissue wasn’t enough to save her vision. In May 2016 she received the gift of sight from a generous eye donor by way of a penetrating keratoplasty corneal transplant. “My other surgery didn’t heal and there was a place in my eye that was evidently very thin. With it not healing, if it had gotten a hole in it I would’ve been blind, so it was just better to take care of it before it happened,” Alla said.
Only a few months out from her cornea transplant, Alla is in the healing process and is waiting to see the full results of the transplant. She is looking forward to being able to drive again when that time comes and being able to drive herself to swim again. “I can tell that the eye is gradually getting better,” said Alla. “I can see out of it okay but it’s still fuzzy.”
Before her transplant, Alla didn’t know much about the eye donation and transplantation process. “I was just absolutely amazed,” said Alla. “It’s just fantastic and everyone has been so helpful and so kind about everything. I knew people donated their eyes and I didn’t know how it worked.” Saving Sight worked with Alla’s surgeon to provide the corneal tissue for her transplant. “I just think it’s wonderful that people donate and I hope I can donate when I leave this world,” said Alla, a registered organ donor who proudly carries the designation on her driver’s license.
For those who are nervous to have a corneal transplant to save their sight Alla said, “I’d tell them not to be scared to have it done. I wouldn’t be able to see without it.”
You can join Alla, her eye donor and countless others who have made the selfless decision to save the sight of others by registering to be an eye, organ and tissue donor. Join the registry today at registerme.org and share your decision to be a donor with your loved ones.