It was a routine eye exam that brought an incredible gift full circle for Diane, a cornea transplant recipient.
In August 2011, Diane of Independence, MO went to her eye doctor for a new pair of eyeglasses. During the exam, the optometrist noticed Diane showed signs of Fuchs’ dystrophy, a corneal disease that can lead to permanent blindness. Because Fuchs’ is usually a slowly progressing condition, Diane was surprised to learn the disease affected both of her eyes.
Diane immediately underwent a corneal transplant in one eye to save her sight. Although she faced some additional problems the weeks after surgery, today her vision has considerably improved. Diane no longer needs bifocals and can read her favorite books with no issues. In addition, her transplant has given her the vision she needs to teach painting classes, garden, and volunteer with her church’s thrift store – not to mention playing with her four grandchildren.
Diane’s transplant is just one chapter in her family’s story of donation. Several years ago, her husband, who had a brain tumor, died unexpectedly from an aneurysm. In order to prevent others from facing the same fate, the decision was made to donate his brain for research. Following his unexpected passing, Diane learned his corneas and skin were donated as well.
“When I received the letter from the recipient thanking me for the gift of sight, I was shocked at first. But I got to thinking about it – how wonderful it was that someone would be able to see and that skin grafts could help someone at a burn center. That changed everything for me. It made such a difference in how I looked at donation.”
Since then, Diane and her family have continued to pay it forward by spreading the word about donation and registering to become donors themselves – a pledge that grew even stronger after Diane’s own transplant.
“Because of our story, other people have decided to pledge to become donors as well. My best friend, other friends, people from church. Once you get such a special gift from someone, it touches the hearts of the many people who hear your story. And it certainly hits home when you realize you may be the one who needs another’s gift.”
To make your own pledge to donate, please visit www.donatelifemissouri.com.