James enjoyed woodworking and watching NASCAR and NHRA drag races. “But above all, he was a man all about his family,” said his daughter Melissa. “He was the type of man that would give you the shirt off his back and do without so others didn’t have to.”

When James passed away suddenly at age 61, his family knew saying yes to eye donation was something he would have wanted. “The opportunity was presented to us just after my dad’s passing,” said Melissa. “Of course any decision in those moments is hard but, for us, it was a case of knowing my dad would have done it in a heartbeat because it was his way of helping someone.”

James’ legacy in helping others lives on through the gift of sight. Two individuals were able to have their sight restored through corneal transplants because he was an eye donor. For Melissa, it brings her comfort knowing her father was able to continue helping others even in death. “I feel like someone is seeing the world through my dad’s eyes and that gives me comfort to know he gave to someone that really needed his help in a way he probably never imagined,” said Melissa.

Melissa has had the opportunity to share about her father with his corneal transplant recipients through Saving Sight’s correspondence program. “I wanted my dad’s recipients to know that they were getting something from a man that had a heart of gold. My dad was an amazing man who worked hard and loved his family beyond belief.”

Because of her family’s experience, Melissa values the impact eye, organ and tissue donation can have not only for donor families, but for recipients as well. “You have the chance to give sight or save someone’s life,” said Melissa. “Nothing’s made me more proud than knowing that, even though he’s gone physically, he saved someone’s sight, and that’s something I will be proud of for the rest of my life!”

 Join the millions of Americans who have signed up for the donor registry by signing up online at registerme.org or at your local Department of Motor Vehicles office. And be sure to share your decision to be an eye, organ and tissue donor with your family and friends. 

Has eye donation touched your life as a donor family or recipient family with Saving Sight? Share your story with us!