Below is a letter written by one of our corneal recipients to his cornea donor’s family

All identifying information has been removed to maintain confidentiality.

Dear Family,

Thanks to the generous donation of your courageous child I can look forward to regaining vision in my right eye.  I am 30 years old and have been suffering from keratoconus, a degenerative cornea disorder, for most of my life.  I have had extremely low vision in my right eye for as long as I can remember and in late November 2010, my cornea tore, totally obscuring my vision and rendering my right eye useless.

My thoughts upon the initial happening were bleak.  In addition to working full-time, I am a lifeguard, triathlete, student, husband, and loving father of a 9 month old dog.  Vision is crucial to my lifestyle, and the blindness I was experiencing in my right eye was sure to seriously impair my future.  My doctor discussed the possibilities: the tear would heal, my vision would remain low, but functional and require constant monitoring for future risk, or, maybe I would be a candidate for a cornea transplant.

Needless to say, I had my diseased cornea removed in March.  While the surgery went perfectly, I was saddened to learn that my new cornea belonged to a young child with the full breadth of life yet before them.  How is it fair that a family can have their heart ripped from them in such a manner?  Should I benefit from their grief?  With this in mind I am amazed at the compassion and benevolence exhibited by your family or your child in having the forethought to consider organ donation.  To think of saving and helping others in a time of deepest sorrow shows real courage and true selflessness.  I thank you for it and I truly consider your gift the greatest I will ever receive.

I promise to honor the memory of your young child as long as I live.  I promise you I will live my life to the fullest and seek out new opportunities and great adventures.  With my eyes I will see all there is to see.  Your child will see what I see and I will think of them every step of the way.  You may have lost a child, but I gained a sibling.  We may never meet, but I consider you a part of my family.  From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

~ anonymous   5/2011