Donor & Recipient Stories
I was the sister and caregiver of a wonderful woman. Even in death she was always thinking of others. She was a published author, a great mom, sister, and daughter. I hope that your life is so much better and you are able to see things that you have never been able to see before. Please always stop and take a second look, just a brief glance just to take it all in. Fall was my sister’s and my favorite time of year and it is so appropriate that as I look out the windows and see the leaves changing, I can’t help but think of you and how your life has changed. I hope for you all the wonderful spring mornings, all of the fall leaves and all of the glorious winter snowfalls.
Sister of Donor
Story of a Donor
Mrs. Jewett called one evening in August. This gently spoken woman with a warm British accent requested information about obtaining permission for eye donation. She explained that her husband John, was quite ill and had expressed a desire to be an eye donor. She wanted to be certain that she would be able to carry out his wishes. After discussing the details of obtaining consent, and being assured that she would be able to carry out her husband’s wishes, she conveyed some thoughts on eye donation that she and her husband shared. She expressed their feelings of how precious and tenuous sight is and their delight in the visual experiences of their lives. It was their desire to pass on these experiences of sight to someone less fortunate than themselves.
An architect and an artist, John (Jack) Jewett attended the School of Architecture at Columbia University. He traveled much of the world, documenting his impressions of the places he had seen. His renderings include water colors, pencil drawings, etchings and dry point. Each of his etchings is accompanied by a brief and charming narrative. The nursing staff who cared for Mr. Jewett told of the enthusiasm with which he shared the stories of his travels and how very much they enjoyed his tales.
Mr. Jewett not only wished to provide the Gift of Sight as an eye donor, but it was also his wish to give one of his impressions of the world – an etching – to the recipient of his precious gift. Because the eye bank is unable to exchange information between donor and recipient, the Jewett’s decided to share one of his visual impressions of France by donating his etching entitled ‘Town Gate’ (1929) to Georgia Eye Bank. Mr. Jewett remembers ‘Town Gate’: ”this was the narrow portal to Villeneuve sur Yvonne on the main route from Paris to Lyons and the south of France. All traffic had to squeeze through it and narrow streets in the town itself. Whether it has been passed by today I do not know.” When he died, John H. Jewett joined the Fight Against Blindness by becoming an eye donor. His stories of the world, his art and his precious gift leave a legacy of sight and a vision of life.
Dear Georgia Eye Bank,
My husband would be deeply honored if he knew his eyes were helping others have the gift of sight. I thought I would put a face on one of your donors so it would be more real to you. Your work is greatly appreciated and I commend you highly for caring for people in need. Thank you for giving my husband this privilege.
Wife of a donor
Dear Eye Recipient,
I hope all is going well for you. Life can be a struggle but if we can always say Thank You for the positive things we do have, it does help. My son James was the donor for your cornea transplant. He was a loving, vibrant, caring person with a big heart. If you would like to know more I could tell you more about him. We have a loving supporting family and wonder about you.
Mother of a donor
Dear family ❤
The truth would not know where to start to thank them with all my heart forces thank you by the cornea you gave for my transplant my eye…
I and my family are too grateful to you God bless each and every one of you.
After this great miracle in my life thanks to all of you. Want to continue going to school be every day a better person for this world help all the animals in the world and many people. God bless you and Believe me that God reward them pleasantly everyone of you are in my prayers every night and my heart also. God bless your family wit Love ❤,
Peace ✞, health 😊, 🍒and food..!
😊 Thank you for everything…
#Made with Love ❤
Dear Donor Family,
It has been two months to the day since I received my corneal transplant. Not a day goes by that I have not been rehearsing this letter in my head. Not only am I abundantly grateful for the surgeon’s expertise and for the professionalism of the surgery center staff, but I am also humbly thankful that I can see. Several times I’ve attempted to put these words to paper, but each time, I’ve shied away, feeling incapable and intimidated by this very fact – someone died and I gained. I have a new cornea which belonged to someone who was living just two days before my surgery!
The post-surgery follow-up appointment was scheduled before daybreak on a Thursday morning, the day after surgery. I was afraid to look at my eye. The surgeon examined my transplant and said it looked “beautiful”. He also said that he had never seen anyone read the chart at 20/40 so soon, only the day after surgery. Of course, I was immensely pleased to hear the great news. Fuchs’ Dystrophy, the disease that affected my eye, eventually would have left me blind. The donor prevented my certain blindness.
I am highly conscious that I benefitted from another person’s passing away. This thought prods me to be better….to do better. Because of my donor, I will be able to continue with my life. I will not let the gift go to waste. The surgeon’s surgical skill has seen to that. I am on the fast road to recovery. I returned to work far sooner than planned. All of my students looked up in surprise when I walked in as none of us expected my return to the classroom that semester. And of course I can now look forward to the years (God willing) that I can continue to teach, to read, to garden, to sing in the choir, and to see the beautiful world God has given us to live in. I am grateful. I am grateful that God has given the knowledge and talents to surgeons and their surgical teams. I am especially grateful that people choose to donate their eyes so that other might see.
-Corneal Recipient and Teacher
To a very special family,
THANK YOU! Your gift to me is something I couldn’t buy or make. It’s just that – a gift. It means that I can see much better than I could for the past 20 years. Sight is very precious and life is difficult when it is limited. Because of your selflessness, with God’s help, and a gifted surgeon, I will be better able to serve Him by helping other people. Your gift to me is a most special blessing.
May God continue to bless and comfort you in the loss of your loved one.
A most grateful cornea recipient
To My Cornea Donor’s Family,
First of all, I want to express my deepest sympathy to you, the family of my cornea donor. Having lost my husband last summer, I can understand that this is surely a sad and difficult time for you and you are very much in my thoughts and prayers.
Because of your kindness and generosity, an incredible gift has been given to me – the Gift of Sight.
I have Fuch’s corneal dystrophy, an inherited disease that causes one’s vision to become foggy, as though you were trying to look through a sheer white curtain or a very dirty window. As the disease progressed, my vision continued to deteriorate, becoming foggier and foggier so that reading, driving, everything that requires good eyesight became more and more difficult.
Fuch’s dystrophy eventually leads to blindness and there is no known cure or treatment other than a corneal transplant.
Through the thoughtfulness of my donor and you, his family, I was able to receive a transplant. After the surgery, the fog lifted and now I am able to see with a clarity I had not experienced for years. I can see trees with leaves, blue sky with fleecy white clouds, my grandchildren’s faces. It is so wonderful!
There are no words that can adequately express my gratitude to you but please know that I thank you from the bottom of my heart for donating the corneas to the Eye Bank. Your gift has allowed the chance for restored vision for me and for someone else in a situation similar to mine.
After my husband died, my children and I found comfort in remembering and I feel that, as long as someone is remembered, he is somehow still here with us. I can assure you that, for the rest of my life, not a day will go by that I don’t remember my donor with gratitude and awe.
With heartfelt thanks,
Dear Donor Family,
I know you are grieving over the loss of your loved one and the words that I write cannot help to ease the pain, but I wanted to say a word of thanks for the Gift of Sight that you have given me. I have had problems with the cornea in my right eye for over 15 years. Due to either re-occurring infections or my body rejecting a donor cornea, I have had a total of four transplants in that eye. Even though it has been only days since this last transplant, I can tell this cornea is different than any other I have ever had. It has healed quicker than any other transplant I have had and my vision is getting better faster. Without your gift I would be totally blind in my right eye. All I can say is thank you and I pray God will richly bless your family.
Dear Georgia Eye Bank,
I would like to thank you for the Gift of Sight. I’m a 25 year old female and have received corneal transplants in both eyes. I thought there was no hope; I had what is called keratacomus in both eyes. The work you are doing is outstanding. You’re company is a very important part of many lives. I would also like to thank the families whom chose to become donors; they have no idea what a gift their families have given. If possible, I would like to send these thanks. I understand I will not be able to get the names of the families but if there is a point of contact please let me know. I would like to send the families a letter or card of thanks. Please send me information where I can send these thanks. Thanks again for the new view on life.
Dear Georgia Eye Bank,
[My wife] recently had to have a cornea transplant on an emergency basis, because of serious problems with her right eye. It had been planned for some time in the future, but a situation developed that required immediate action. [The doctor] evaluated the situation, late in the day, 5/23/00, and contacted you at the eye bank in Atlanta. In a matter of hours you provided the tissue, set up courier services to the airport, jet service to Augusta, and courier service from Augusta airport to the university hospital. [Her doctor], in conjunction with [another doctor] successfully completed the eye surgery and had the eye stabilized by midnight. We want to say thank you for the wonderful service you provided, and to the family of the donor for their precious gift. We will always be thankful and remember the ones that provided the means to save the eye.
The Husband of a Recipient
And you truly are my friends! You don’t know me, and I don’t know you; but you have given me a gift that will be with me for the rest of my life.
I know that it was a difficult decision for your family to donate your child’s cornea to the eye bank, and I can never thank you enough for that decision. I lost a son several years ago, and I know the depth of strain and heartache you endured. You have my unlimited admiration for making the decision to give the “gift of sight” to another during such a stressful time.
My mother went blind; and I had such a fear that blindness would be a part of my future. My doctor assures me “that’s not in the cards” for me because of your generosity.
I will soon be eighty-three years old. As I watched my Mother sit in growing darkness as she went blind, my heart ached. Because of my family history, I could reach the ripe old age of one hundred, and to sit in darkness for fifteen years or more is a horrible thought. Now my fears for that have been relieved.
Thank you, and my family also thanks you. Our hearts overflow with gratitude as we think of the wonderful gift you have made to us. You are truly our friends.
With deepest gratitude,
Gratitude for the Gift of Sight
How does one begin to say thank you for such a gift as the Gift of Sight? I wish that I had the words to let you know how much admiration, appreciation, and love I have for my donor and her family. I will hold close the knowledge that I am now seeing this wonderful world for two of us. I will be aware and thankful every day for this unselfish gift.
I am a 63 year old retired school teacher. The last 25 years of my career were spent as an elementary school librarian. Reading is such a special part of my life. The diagnosis of Fuchs’ Corneal Dystrophy, hereditary disease that can only be cured with a corneal transplant, overwhelmed me with fear. And now I have this precious gift given so freely to a complete stranger. I will continue to look for the beauty that surrounds me and honor my gift with daily thanks and admiration for her and her family. She will not be forgotten.
With sincere gratitude,
To a Very Special Family,
I want to express my sincere sympathy for your loss.
This message has been extremely difficult for me to write, which is why it has taken so long. I finally realized there will never be the right words to express my feelings of deep gratitude and appreciation. However, I want you to know I am forever grateful. I received a cornea, and with it sight. Sight is critical, and when it was taken away I was devastated and full of despair. I am so thankful I can now see, but also extremely sad because of why I now have a healthy cornea.
I live my life to the fullest as a way to honor your loved one. The person you love left a legacy of grace and generosity. I am thankful to this very special, selfless, and amazing person. Thank you for this beautiful gift, it has forever changed and improved my life.
My heart goes out to your family. Please know I will always be thankful.
With much gratitude and love,
Dear Donor Family,
First off I am deeply sorry for your loss; I was told your family member was very young. I am now 36 years old and received my new cornea at 34. I have a 5 year old son who is my life and I’m very active in sports. This donation is greatly appreciated and I take excellent care of it and always will. My new cornea changed my life forever, thank you so much.
I just wanted to extend heartfelt thanks and gratitude for the corneal transplant I received in January 2013. I am touched and very grateful to the family for allowing the donation of your loved one’s eyes to give me my vision back. I want you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.
With deepest gratitude,