Someone once said, “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” As Family Services Coordinator for the Iowa Lions Eye Bank, it has been my personal experience to communicate with many donor families who have received a heartfelt “thank you” note from a recipient of their loved one’s cornea, sometimes within a week or two of the donor’s death. While still in the midst of their grief, they find comfort and reassurance regarding the decision to donate to help someone, a sense of peace in knowing that their loved one’s legacy lives on through the gift of sight to another, and verification that their loved one’s final gift was indeed received and appreciated by the recipient.

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Heather McKiness

Donor Family,

January 31, 2018, I received the most beautiful gift of sight. Your loved one donated a cornea to me to love and grow, and just one week later, I could see 20/25. Without this, I would be blind in that eye. My mother and grandmother also received cornea transplants. The generations before my grandmother went blind in their 40s, most likely from Fuch’s Dystrophy (discovered through genealogy searching).

My name is Heather and I have been married to my wonderful husband for 26 years. We have one kiddo in college. I didn’t decide my life vocation until I was 39. I went back to school to become a Surgical Technologist...I LOVE MY JOB! We live in the country and enjoy gardening an entire acre of land—canning and freezing all the vegetables we need, with extras to give away to neighbors, co-workers and friends. We made apple cider from our trees last year, and that was fun! We have 2 black and tan coonhounds; our dog children are my constant companions in the yard and my sewing room.

Thank you and I am forever grateful and honored
(and I am also a donor),


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For more information please contact: Debra Schuett, Family Services Coordinator