Staff Member Spotlight

Monica Freiburger
Donor Eligibility Manager

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Every Life Has a Story, May 2018

Nathan Eckhart  (Mar 18, 1990 - Jul 06, 1995)

Nathan Eckhart was a very precocious five year old boy who loved life to its fullest. His beautiful brown eyes made everyone melt when they saw him. On a beautiful summer morning, July 6, 1995, Nathan was bound and determined to be able to "dunk"" a basketball. His brother, who is exactly two years older than him, already had mastered the art of dunking.

No one will ever fully know exactly what happened, but somehow Nathan became entangled in the net of the basketball hoop, which was a shorter version of a regular basketball hoop. His dad discovered him just a minute or two later, but unfortunately, it was already too late. Nathan was flown from his family home near Burr Oak, Iowa to Gunderson Lutheran Hospital in La Crosse, Wisconsin.  The medical staff tried every procedure possible to save Nathan, but he was brain-dead. Minutes after his family was told that Nathan’s injuries were not survivable, he left this world.

Nathan was able to donate his corneas, but because he had lacked oxygen for so long, he was unable to  donate any of his organs. However, his big beautiful eyes live on in someone, due to donation. On March 18th, 2018, Nathan would have been 28 years old.

Click here to read more of Nathan Eckhart's story.

Four ILEB corneas restore sight in Swaziland

When former University of Iowa resident and fellow Dr. Matthew Ward needed corneal tissue for transplants during a recent mission trip to Swaziland with The Luke Commission (TLC), he immediately reached out to the Iowa Lions Eye Bank.

Dr. Ward was the cornea fellow at the University of Iowa from 2012 to 2013, and worked very closely with the Iowa Lions Eye Bank during that time. “I consider ILEB to be the best in the business, and feel very fortunate to use ILEB tissue for my patients in private practice,” said Ward.

Click here to read more of "Four ILEB corneas restore sight in Swaziland"

The Coralville Lions Club Food Drive

The Coralville Lions Club hosted a successful food drive from November 20 – December 8. The Club put donation boxes in the UIHC Administrative Office, Iowa Lions Eye Bank, and Iowa River Landing.

Anna Wilcox, Scott Van Oss, and Laken Pins, all members of the Coralville Lions Club and Iowa Lions Eye Bank employees, delivered the donations to the Coralville Food Pantry on Saturday, December 9th.

Click here to read more of "The Coralville Lions Club Food Drive"

Lions’ efforts in 2007 result in new therapy in 2018

Physician clinicians and researchers in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Iowa continue to make important research breakthroughs in the fight to combat Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), a genetically inherited eye disease that causes babies to be born blind or children to go blind before reaching school age.

The Iowa Lions have played an important role in making this happen.

In 2007, researchers at the University joined with the Lions Clubs of Iowa to create Project 3000, the goal of which was to find people born blind or adults who became blind as children, test them, and find the roughly 3,000 people in the U.S. with LCA. The researchers worked with other researchers across the country, who also enlisted their local Lions Clubs in the efforts. The Iowa Lions canvassed their own club communities to locate individuals throughout Iowa who might have LCA, and offer them genetic testing.

Click here to read more of "Lions’ efforts in 2007 result in new therapy in 2018"

The Iowa Lions

Iowa Lions Eye Bank is extremely proud of our close relationship with the Iowa Lions as we work together to restore and preserve sight. The Iowa Lions support ILEB in a variety of ways including a volunteer transport system that has become an integral part of ILEB’s laboratory operations.

Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization, with 1.35 million members in more than 46,000 clubs. During an address to the Lions Clubs International in 1925, Helen Keller challenged the Lions to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.” Since that time, Lions Clubs International has worked tirelessly to aid the blind and visually impaired.

You can read more about the Iowa Lions here: Iowa Lions

Who Can Be a Donor?

Anyone can. The great thing about corneal tissue is that everyone is a universal donor. Your blood type does not have to match. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what color your eyes are or how good your eyesight is. Aside from those suffering from infections or a few highly communicable diseases such as HIV or hepatitis, most people are suitable donors.

News and Events

24 May

Save the date for our annual Celebration of Hope & Renewal scheduled for May 24, 2018!

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