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.
Nathan’s mom, Kay Winkelman, wants everyone to learn two lessons from her tragedy.
First, she warns parents of small children about the dangers of nets on basketball hoops, and asks all parents to remove the net on a basketball hoop of any kind.
Second, Kay would like everyone to please consider donation. The death of a child is completely, utterly and truly devastating; however, it brought great comfort to her and her family to know that someone, received the gift of sight because of the death of her son.
Iowa Lions Eye Bank thanks Kay and her family for sharing Nathan’s story and the powerful lessons that they learned through this tragedy. We are honored to be a part of Nathan’s legacy.