Melanie’s Legacy As An Eye Donor

Melanie’s Legacy As An Eye Donor

“My mom was extremely devoted to her family, especially her mother, two kids and five grandchildren. She had just gotten her first granddaughter after four boys and was so proud. She was extremely giving, to the point she’d go without so others had. She was an AMAZING cook, no one could come close to her meals, and she took great pride in that.

She loved shopping, she spent each Saturday wandering the aisles of Walmart. She was also an avid church goer, she attended every Sunday with her family. She had liked gardening in earlier years, and recently was obsessed with watching Wheel of Fortune. She knew the answers even before the contestants did,” shares Hannah.

Hannah says she and her mother had never talked about donation prior to her mother’s passing. “I was very familiar because I work in healthcare, but other than knowing we were each listed on our respective drivers licenses, we had never had a discussion about it.”

A Legacy Lives On

“Her legacy lives on especially in her grandchildren, who are currently learning to do acts of kindness so that her huge heart may live on. Regarding donation, I know her legacy is living in the people she has given new life, vision, and mobility too. Also the people who will benefit from the research she contributed too,” says Hannah.

“I was inspired to share our story, because I want to help others who are in a similar pain, understand that good does come eventually. I would just like people to know how missed she is, but how grateful we are that she was able to give to others.”

Here are two photos Hannah provided of her mother, Melanie; the second is a picture of her with Hannah’s son, her second oldest grandchild. It just shows perfectly what a wonderful Mimi she was.

Jeannette’s Legacy

Jeannette’s Legacy

 

In Memory of Jeannette Hendricks, 1980-2021

“We called her Nette and she was an awesome chick. Beloved by her family, and respected by peers. Nette was very intelligent and down to earth. She had a wonderful sense of humor and was very creative. She was always a joy to be around with a ready smile and laugh. She enjoyed going to the Downtown Farmers’ Market with her grandmother, shopping on Amazon, bossing her little brother around and trying new vegan culinary delights. Jeannette was recently the recipient of a corneal transplant in March 2021 and she received the corneal tissue from Saving Sight. She was looking forward to seeing life in a new way.” – Gina Wells, Nette’s Aunt

 

Jon’s Legacy

Jon’s Legacy

 

In memory of Jon Earwood, 1994-2020

“Jon was a kind and genuine man. He always had a smile on his face. He loved being outdoors fishing or riding his motorcycle, singing and playing his guitar, and spending time with his family and friends. He loved his job as a welder helping the farming community. But most of all he loved being a dad to his son Thomas.” – Ashton

Staff Member Gains New Insight Into the Gift of Donation

Staff Member Gains New Insight Into the Gift of Donation

Donor hero, Robert, in his chef coat

Robert was a professional chef and at his best self when he was in the kitchen.

“My dad was the biggest dork,” Abby recalls. “He was always the one to make somebody laugh.”

Robert was one-of-a-kind, with a dark sense of humor and a passion for culinary arts and cooking. He worked as a professional chef and was his best self in the kitchen. While Robert’s journey in life wasn’t easy, Abby remembers one-on-one time cooking with her dad in the kitchen and, most of all, feeling that “… I never didn’t know love.”

On November 20, 2014, Robert died unexpectedly from cardiac arrest due to an overdose. Abby was only 19 at the time and had just started college a few months earlier. While much of the time shortly after his death was wrought with the pain of sudden loss, she distinctly remembers the conversation around his tissue donation. For years, Abby felt a powerful sense that her father had a message for her, and even had a vivid dream about him where he gave his heart to her.

Fast-forward six years, and Abby had accepted a job role in Saving Sight’s Human Resources department. As she was exposed to the eye bank’s sight-saving mission and heard stories from transplant recipients and donor families, Abby’s curiosity about her father’s donation grew.

“Being here, I wanted to know if my dad was able to impact somebody’s life,” says Abby. “It was definitely a full-circle moment.”

This fall, Abby connected with the Aftercare team at SightLife, the local eye bank in Washington state that helped facilitate Robert’s gift of eye donation in 2014. She quickly learned that her father gave the gift of sight to two individuals in Japan. Abby finds special meaning in this, knowing that Robert used to get a lot of his culinary inspirations from Japan, as well as had love for the original Iron Chef show from the 90’s.

Abby also learned from the local organ procurement organization, LifeCenter Northwest, that her father helped 57 people total through eye and tissue donation. Among those people is a 12-year-old girl who needs orthopedic surgery, a 78-year-old who required spinal surgery, and a young girl in Arizona who received a life-saving heart valve.

That’s right. Remember Abby’s dream about her father’s heart? She finds special significance in this now, knowing that his donation was life-saving for a heart tissue recipient.

Today is the 6th anniversary of Robert’s passing and Abby has found a new sense of connection to the gift of donation. Although no easy task for any donor family, she is working on writing a letter to his recipients to share more about who her father was and his legacy. She is also planning for a new tattoo that will pay homage to her father’s love of cooking and his lasting gift through eye and tissue donation.

Daniel’s Legacy

Daniel’s Legacy

In Memory of Daniel Lord, 2002-2018

“Daniel was naturally bright, curious and helpful. He truly made the world a colorful place. His caring nature transcends time with the gifts he left behind.” – Rebecca Malone