Losing a child is heartbreaking. For Danielle, knowing her 10-year-old son Devon could help others through being an eye donor gives her a sense of peace. “Devon is really missed so much, but I know that he is happy he was able to help someone else,” said Danielle.
Devon was born with Goldenhar Syndrome. Though his case had nothing to do with his heart, he was born with fluid on his brain, extra tissue on his eye and skin tags that were removed at birth. Devon also underwent surgery at the age of 2 and had 2 rods and 6 screws placed in his back.
Despite his health concerns and diagnosis of ADHD & ADD severe in first grade, Danielle said he was so smart, energetic and always smiling.
“He could make everybody smile; if you were having a bad day, he knew how to make you laugh,” said Danielle.
She added that Devon was a good big brother and loved his little sister so much. He also enjoyed playing with his cars, going to demolition derbies and being around others. Danielle said his favorite subject in school was writing – reading his writing today still touches her heart and brings a tear to her eyes.
“Even with the disability he had, it didn’t stop him from being the little kid that he was.” They lost Devon the summer before he was to begin 5th grade. “His teachers loved him so much – he could drive them nuts, but he was just the light of the room and could make them smile.”
When Danielle’s family lost Devon in 2015, they were approached by Saving Sight about eye donation. At the time, Danielle wasn’t familiar with donation and had limited knowledge about the donor registry. “When everything happened, I got the phone call to ask if we could donate,” said Danielle. “At that moment, it wasn’t quite the right time and I asked them to call back the next day. They did which was amazing and they respected me.”
Danielle wasn’t sure Devon could be a donor with his disabilities but was happy he was able to be an eye donor. “Devon would have wanted to help others because he had a situation with his eyes and, I think deep down, he will always know he was able to help somebody,” said Danielle.
Danielle recommends discussing donation to any family dealing with end of life care. “When we got a letter from California that was an amazing feeling that we were able to help somebody else that had a problem with their eyesight,” said Danielle, “It means a lot to somebody on the other end and I know it hurts because you’re loved one is gone but, in the end, it makes a difference being able to help others.”
You can join the millions of Americans like Devon who gave the gift of sight through eye donation, sign up for the donor registry, register online at Donate Life America or at your local Department of Motor Vehicles office. And be sure to share your decision with your family and friends.
If you are a cornea transplant recipient or donor family and would like to share your experience like Danielle has, please send us a note through our Contact page. To learn more about writing your donor family or your loved one’s recipient, please read our Correspondence page or contact Saving Sight at 800-753-2265.