Staff Member Spotlight

Monica Freiburger
Donor Eligibility Manager

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Kyle "Gibby" Vosberg  (Oct 11, 1996 - Feb 12, 2016)

On February 12, 2016, Kyle Vosberg lost his life in a tragic car accident at the young age of 19. Kyle was the middle child of his Potosi, Wisconsin family, and left behind his father, David “Bubba” Vosberg, his mother and stepfather Lisa and Eric “Benny” Gotzinger and two sisters Katie and Kalynn. Survivors also include a large extended family and many friends.

Kyle graduated from Potosi High school in 2015, and was a proud member of the Potosi football team. He gave it his all each Friday night on the football field and then worked at his job on a local farm every Saturday and Sunday. He planned to attend Southwest Wisconsin Technical College for the lineman program in August of 2016.

Kyle was known as a thoughtful and caring gentle giant, famous for his “bear hugs.” Kyle’s mom Lisa said, "When Kyle would hug somebody, he hugged them like it mattered. Because to him, it did. You know they mattered. And so I guess that's why everybody thought those hugs were so special."

As a way to honor Kyle’s memory, his family started the Kyle Vosberg Bear Hug Scholarship in 2016 for Potosi graduating seniors planning to pursue a college certificate or degree. There is no grade point minimum requirement for the scholarship; they look for a student who exemplifies Kyle’s heart of gold and his willingness to help others.

Kyle’s community also rallied around his family after his passing. The city of Potosi renamed its annual Christmas tree “Kyle’s Tree” in his honor. Community members donate money for strands of lights or lighted presents that surround the tree, and all proceeds from the tree go to local families in need.

When Kyle renewed his driver's license, just 4 months prior to his tragic death, he made the decision to be a donor. Kyle's generous and beautiful spirit lives on in the countless lives he saved through eye, organ and tissue donation.


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

21 Apr

Please join us for the 11th annual Green 5K Fun Run/Walk! Hosted by Iowa Donor Network and My Angel Foundation April 21, 2018 at Raccoon River Park in West Des Moines at 8:00 AM.

24 May

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

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