Our Commitment to Changing Lives in 2018

Our Commitment to Changing Lives in 2018

Our Impact in 2018

Thanks to the many partners who help us facilitate the gift of eye donation, and to the thousands of individuals who said “yes” to giving that gift, we were able to impact the lives of more than 7 individuals a day last year.

Together, We Change Lives

2018 was a banner year, in which Saving Sight provided the gift of sight to even more individuals through the help of our many partners in donation. We’re proud to share our successes with you and humbled to say thank you for your support. We hope that you enjoy hearing the stories of those we’ve served this past year, and that you’ll take the opportunity to share their stories with others, as well. 

Retired Pediatrics Nurse Finds Relief through Corneal Transplantation

Retired Pediatrics Nurse Finds Relief through Corneal Transplantation

Haley, Elaine and Rick at the Candlelight Memorial in Springfield on March 16th.

As a retired pediatrics nurse and two-time cornea transplant recipient, Elaine is familiar with the impact eye, organ and tissue transplantation has on the lives of others.

Elaine has keratoconus, a progressive eye disease that thins the cornea and causes it to become cone-shaped, distorting vision. To help with her worsening vision, Elaine underwent her first cornea transplant in the 1980s. After her transplant, Elaine was given gas permeable contact lenses. These contacts ended up causing corneal abrasions and Elaine discontinued wearing a contact in that eye. “Over the years it had become very scarred to the point my eyelid could not close at night and this caused dryness and discomfort. I also could not see through the scar,” says Elaine. She also had cataract surgery on that eye, which added to her corneal scarring.
Elaine had been told her corneal scarring and vision couldn’t be corrected in that eye. Due to the pain she was experiencing, she and her best friend decided to seek a second opinion. That’s when she discovered optometrist Dr. David Pierce. “I absolutely adore my optometrist, Dr. Pierce. He’s just so caring and referred me to Dr. Daniel Osborn who is an ophthalmologist. They discussed my case and decided they could replace my cornea transplant. Dr. Osborn did a fabulous job!”
Dr. Obsborn performed Elaine’s second corneal transplant on June 16, 2018 and she is healing well. As of February 2019, Elaine’s vision is testing 20/25 in her transplant eye and she hopes to continue getting better once the rest of her stitches are removed.
“The pain I went through previously was just horrible,” says Elaine. “What I’ve been through with the second transplant has been worth it with my eye not drying out at night and fussing with the drops. I’m more comfortable and better now.”
Thanks to her cornea transplant, Elaine, who celebrated her 81st birthday this February, is able to enjoy watching birds outdoors and from her dining room window again. She and her husband HF also are able to keep up with their 5 kids, 12 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren now as well.
Connecting through Correspondence
Elaine chose to write to her donor’s family to say thank you for their generosity that made her transplant possible. “The tissue is so priceless to the people who need it. I will be forever thankful to her (Elaine’s eye donor), to her family and to God for my new cornea. When you help someone else the blessings will always be returned to you.”
Sharing Her Story at the Springfield Candlelight Memorial
Saving Sight was honored to co-host a Candlelight Memorial with Mid-America Transplant on Saturday, March 16, 2019. We participate in this event annually to honor eye, organ and tissue donor families. Elaine spoke at the event to share her gratitude for her restored sight as a cornea recipient.


Black Friday. Cyber Monday.

November 27th, 2018

Saving Sight has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide.

Occurring this year on November 27th, #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday kicks off the holiday giving season, inspiring people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to support the causes they believe in.

Help us change lives by saving sight with a gift on Tuesday, November, 27th and share your giving story on social media with #GivingTuesday



Show others why you support Saving Sight on #GivingTuesday with a #UNselfie

Share an #UNselfie & Inspire Others to Give

Show others in your social media networks why you support Saving Sight by taking an #UNselfie. The #UNselfie or selfless selfie is a powerful way to show how you choose to give and why that cause is important to you.

Download and print the #GivingTuesday sign and write why you support Saving Sight. You can also mark it on your phone or tablet. Then, take a photo with the sign and post to your social media networks. Tag @WeSaveSight on Facebook or @WeSaveSight on Twitter, use the hashtags #UNselfie and #GivingTuesday and link to our giving page saving-sight.org/giving-tuesday-donation.



November is Eye Donation Month

November is Eye Donation Month

November is Eye Donation Month! Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA) uses the month as an opportunity to educate the public about the importance of registering to be a donor, about cornea donation and transplantation, and to acknowledge the work of their partner eye banks. As a member eye bank, Saving Sight will be taking part in celebrating Eye Donation Month and the theme of The Power of You. The campaign demonstrates the “power” that individuals have in building hope, restoring sight and changing lives, including healthcare professionals and partners, researchers, eye bank staff, corneal surgeons, and recipients and donor families.

During the 2017-2018 fiscal year, Saving Sight provided corneal tissue to 2,957 transplant recipients locally and throughout the world thanks to the selfless gift of sight from 2,480 eye donors and their families.

We will be sharing several cornea recipient and donor family stories in November. Be sure to follow Saving Sight on Facebook and on our website during November for #EyeDonationMonth2018. Thank you for helping us change lives by saving sight!

Happy Holidays from Saving Sight – 2017

Happy Holidays from Saving Sight – 2017

Happy Holidays from Saving Sight

Pam smiling in a snowman holiday sweater.

Pam captured these beautiful winter scenes at her country home in Missouri as our 2017 featured holiday artist.

Pam captured these beautiful winter scenes at her country home in Missouri as our 2017 featured holiday artist.

Thanks to our staff, partners, volunteers and supporters of our work in eye donation, more corneal recipients like Pam are able to enjoy the twinkling holiday lights and watch the first snowfall of the season. And more donor families are able to find comfort in their loved one’s legacy living on through the gift of sight in 2017.

We wish you a bright holiday season and look forward to our continued work in the new year. Happy Holidays, from all of us at Saving Sight!

About the Artist

Thanks to the generosity of an eye donor, Pam was able to correct her vision through the gift of sight. “My vision kept getting dimmer and dimmer and glasses just didn’t fix it,” said Pam. “We realized through several tests that it was Fuch’s dystrophy.”

After her corneal transplant, Pam chose to write her donor family to thank them for their kindness. “Families have felt such a loss but they have helped other people,” said Pam. “I knew they had suffered a loss and just wanted them to know we appreciated the gift. It’s not just that the donor gave but the family accepted and followed through with their wishes.”

Today, Pam has regained her active lifestyle exploring the outdoors and gardening. She and her husband are avid birdwatchers and she is able to see the fine details in feathers and coloring she was missing before her transplant. Pam has regained her independence, driving with confidence again and seeing details when grocery shopping, watching television, reading menus in restaurants and even beading her holiday Christmas balls. More than anything, Pam is able to watch and keep up with her 6 active grandchildren and see the world as they see it now.

“As my vision becomes clearer and clearer, I realize that I had forgotten how bright and colorful our world is and I appreciate and love every second of it,” says Pam.

Geese on an icy pond surrounded by snow and trees in Missouri.

Pam captured these beautiful winter scenes at her country home in Missouri.



Saving Sight Honors Eye Donors in the 128th Rose Parade

Saving Sight Honors Eye Donors in the 128th Rose Parade

Staff at Capital Region Medical Center dedicated a rose in honor of their
donors on the 14th Annual Donate Life
Rose Parade Float.

Each year, Saving Sight works to coordinate the eye donation process for donors in partner hospitals across Missouri, Kansas and central Illinois. Saving Sight partner relations coordinators meet with the partner hospitals as the year comes to a close to honor the gifts of their donors on a national stage during the annual Tournament of Roses – Rose Parade.

“This year our PRCs met with an administrator at 26 of our partner hospitals and partnered with Midwest Transplant Network to meet with 14 shared hospital partners. The number of hospital administrators who participate in this program is growing each year. It’s a great way for Saving Sight to promote in the local communities the culture of donation within these hospitals,” said Michala Stoker, Director of Partner Relations.

Saving Sight asked each partner hospital to dedicate a rose in honor of the hospital’s eye donors that was carried on the annual Donate Life Rose Parade Float. Each signed a vial with a personal message from the hospital in memory of the hospital’s eye donors. This year, the vial carried a white Akito rose on the Rose Parade Float to honor the donors and help spread the simple, life-giving message that eye, organ and tissue donation heals and saves lives.

Memorial Medical Center dedicated a rose to honor their donors on the 14th Annual Donate Life Rose Parade Float.

“It’s an incredible gift these donors make through eye donation. They forever change the lives of corneal transplant recipients,” said Saving Sight Chief Executive Officer Tony Bavuso. “We’re excited to work with our partner hospitals to honor that gift by dedicating a rose that will be seen around the world as part of this year’s Tournament of Roses Parade and serve as a testament to the healing power of the gift of sight.”

The 128th Annual Tournament of Roses – Rose Parade was broadcast around the world from Pasadena, California on January 2, 2017. The 14th Annual Donate Life Rose Parade Float won the Theme Trophy for their Teammates in Life float that honored the heroes who helped others through the gift of sight and the gift of life.

Across our service region, Saving Sight recovered, processed and placed 3,016 corneas for transplant in 2015. Because of the compassion of donors, families and staff at partner hospitals, Saving Sight changed the lives of an average of eight people every day through the gift of sight.

Over 48,000 corneal transplants took place across the country to restore sight for those in need last year and more than 15,000 Americans gave life through organ donation. Still, today more than 120,000 men, women children await lifesaving organ transplants in the United States. If you haven’t registered as an eye, organ and tissue donor yet, you can make a difference by choosing to give life today at registerme.org.