For a busy mom with three boys ages eight through 12, clear vision is critical to running her kids to their favorite sports and watching them from the bleachers.
In 2000, Tammy of Sparta, Mo. was diagnosed with keratoconus, a disorder in which the cornea thins and becomes cone-shaped. Within 10 years, the condition completely altered Tammy’s life as she could no longer see details in anything she viewed. Tammy had to cut down on her hours at work and could only drive during the day if weather conditions were absolutely perfect. In addition, her contact lenses for the condition were no longer helping with vision, but in fact, just irritating her eyes. Worst of all, although she was able to cheer on her sons at their ball games, she could no longer see them out on the field.
In 2011, Tammy had two surgeries to help restore her vision. On her right eye, she underwent an Intacs procedure in which plastic inserts are implanted into the eye to revert the damaged cornea back into a dome shape. On her left, thanks to a generous donor family, Tammy receive a cornea transplant to save her sight.
The date of her transplant was incredibly relevant – she received her gift on Valentine’s Day. “I’m not going to forget the day, that’s for sure,” remarked Tammy. “It’s the best gift I could have received. I know what it’s going to do for me in the long run. When you lose sight, you lose a lot of your world.”
Although Tammy’s vision has not yet completely returned, her eyesight is better than it was. By following her doctor’s instructions, there is an excellent chance she will regain the majority of her vision within the next year.
“With this gift of sight I will be able to watch my three sons grown up and make a difference in our world. I will be able to see them score the winning goal in soccer, shoot that three pointer in basketball, perform in their school productions, and walk across the stage to accept their diploma. These are just a few of the things that I will now get to enjoy and see!”
For Tammy, her donor family has changed her life and the lives of the three boys who depend on her. “I don’t know them, but I feel like they’re part of my family. They did something so generous for someone they didn’t even know. It means the world to me – I can’t thank them enough.”
To learn how you can join Missouri’s eye, organ and tissue donor registry, please visit www.donatelifemissouri.com.