Cornea Recipients Express Their Gratitude

"Thank you seems inadequate to express my feelings after cornea transplant surgery…2017 was a stressful year and eye surgery [cornea transplant] was the good news that outweighed other difficulties in our lives…I can tell you that your loved one’s gift was not just to me, but to others as I ‘pay it forward.’ I volunteer at the nursing home; helping with crafts, reading to residents, and leading a weekly religious service…Your gift is being enjoyed by many other people in my community. Thank you from me and all the others who are benefitting from your generous donation."

Deanna, 74 year old cornea recipient from Sumner, IA

"To My Donor Family,
I just retired after teaching public school for 30 years…My eyesight had deteriorated to the point where I couldn’t renew my driver’s license. Now I have almost 20/20 eyesight and everything I see is brighter and more colorful…I am so glad that your loved one had decided to be an organ donor and because of my good fortune, I have decided to do the same. May peace and comfort be with you and thank you so much."

Phil, 58 year old cornea recipient from central Iowa

"Dear Donor Family,
Thank you so very much for the gift of sight that you have given me through your loved one. We provided that same gift when we lost our 19 year old daughter due to an automobile accident in January, 1979…My late husband was a long-time member of the Iowa Lions Club and supported their superb services in the field of eyesight…I am 78 years old and in perfect health…I was devastated when my eyesight began to fail. You, through your loved one, have restored my sight and I am forever grateful."

Merna, grateful cornea recipient

"As a nurse, I have been with many families who faced the decision to donate. It is by far, the most precious gift ever given. Because of you and your loved one’s generosity, I am able to continue to live independently…I am also able to return to my profession which is my passion. Now I can tell my patients first hand, what a wonderful gift donation is! This gift will be cared for and cherished."

Susan, 67 year old cornea recipient

"Although I will never be able to say ‘Thank You’ to my donor for the wonderful gift of sight, I want you to know that there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about the courage, compassion and decision that either your loved one made, or family members made, so that someone like me can see again."

Carol, 73 year old cornea recipient

"I write this with a heart full of gratitude for the cornea that is allowing me to see. I turned 60 a week after my transplant and I was able to share with loved ones that the gift of new sight was my greatest gift! I am a teacher and administrator and my sight is very important. I know that you have experienced the loss of a loved one…and I hold your grief in my heart as well."

Patsy, 60 year old cornea recipient

"Dear Donor Family,
Our youngest son Joseph was born with Peter’s Anomaly. It is a cloudy cornea, making him blind. Both of his eyes were affected and his only chance at having vision is through cornea transplants. Your incredible gift has given him a chance at a normal childhood and life. The words here seem not enough to express our gratitude…Losing a loved one is difficult and our family offers you our condolences. We hope you find some comfort in knowing what a profound difference your gift has made in our little boy’s life. Watching him see the world for the first time and smile is an incredible experience. We want you to know that we will be good stewards of this gift to honor the memory of your loved one. Thank you!"

From the parents of Joseph, 5 month old cornea recipient

"Where does one begin to thank selfless heroism, knowing that it begins with the loss of someone that means more than life itself?"

Mother of 10 year old cornea recipient Emma

"I am so thankful for being able to have this operation and to have received donor tissue from a thoughtful donor like your loved one. I have for many years been signed up as a donor of my organs and I also am a blood donor every year."

John, 65 year old cornea recipient

"Dear Donor Family, I am really at a loss of words on how to truly express my thankfulness to your loved one for giving me the gift of sight. I have had a cornea disease, Fuchs Dystrophy, and over the years it has advanced—this last year getting bad enough that it was affecting my daily living…I had my cornea transplant on March 31st, 2015 and it is very successful…I am not listed as a donor, but that is going to change. How selfish of me, when I have been given so much from someone who obviously was very caring and wanted to help someone else…I have received a MIRACLE! Thank you, thank you!"

Eunice, 60 year old cornea recipient

"To offer up living tissue from your loved one to unknown recipients must be a very heart-wrenching decision during a time of deep grief…your generosity is a Godsend."

James, 81 year old cornea recipient

"As a caregiver to my husband, I wish to write a note to thank you so much for your loved one’s gift of eyesight to him through a cornea transplant. No one really knows what it is like to have his or her eyesight fail until it actually happens. We are making an extra effort to talk about our experience and encourage our friends and family to consider being an eye donor."

Helen, wife of cornea recipient Dale

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