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March is National Eye Donor Month!

National Eye Donor Month: Celebrating the Gift of Sight!

For 34 years, the Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA) and its member eye banks have utilized National Eye Donor Month to raise eye donation awareness, honor donors, and their families and celebrate cornea recipients. The invaluable efforts of eye banks and corneal surgeons to restore sight worldwide are also highlighted.

President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first National Eye Donor Month; every year since then, a member of Congress has read a proclamation emphasizing the importance of cornea donation on EBAA’s behalf.

This year, Representative Nydia Velazquez (D – NY 7th District) sponsored National Eye Donor Month. Please check below to view her proclamation.

Kansas Eye Bank & Cornea Research Center, along with the EBAA, offers a variety of materials to support the various events, activities and programs members sponsor in honor of National Eye Donor Month.

NEDM 2017 Web Rotator

About the Eye Bank Association of America

The Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA), established in 1961, is the oldest transplant association in the nation and sets standards, provides education, and engages in advocacy to support eye donation, and cornea transplantation and research. EBAA has led the transplantation field with the establishment of medical standards for eye banking, and comprehensive training and certification programs for eye bank personnel. Over 90 member eye banks operate in the United States, Canada, and Asia. These eye banks made possible 79,304 sight-restoring corneal transplants in 2015. To learn more, visit www.restoresight.org.

2015 Celebration of Heroes

On Saturday, April 18, people from around the community gathered for the annual Celebration of Heroes, dedicated to heroes who have given the gifts of life through organ, eye, and tissue donation.

The celebration included music, an inspirational reflection and speakers including a donor family member, a cornea recipient, a candle lighting ceremony, and a salute to the donor families.

Donor families brought quilt blocks honoring their loved ones and pinned them to existing quilts. These blocks will be made into a new donor memorial quilt.

Betty Lane (pictured with white hair) is a cornea recipient who spoke about “A Precious Gift” she received.

There was also a video tribute of donors. Pictures for the video were contributed by donor families.

Donor Family Shares Thoughts After Mother’s Passing

We received the following letter from the daughter of one of our donors. It is stories like these that remind us why we do what we do.

“Our entire family has become hugely committed to organ donation since my mother’s passing. We cannot thank you enough for the work you are doing. When we lost her in March we discovered that she was an organ donor and it shouldn’t have surprised us. Our mother was generous beyond measure and she gave everything she had of herself right down to the very end. Although, for us, it was a time of deep sadness and grief, we experienced this final act of hers to be nothing short of heroic and it has inspired our family and given us all such comfort in ways we could have never imagined. It feels incredibly wonderful to know that even though we’d lost our Mom, there were others out there she never met whose lives would be blessed by her and that some part of her would go on living and making a difference. Our entire family has signed up to be donors and we have encouraged everyone we know to do the same. Organ donation helped our grieving family find meaning and inspiration at a time of great loss and we so love knowing that her gift has given others a new lease on life. Thanks again for all you do. We found it to be an incredibly moving experience and perfectly in line with who she was. We are, of course, a bit curious about those who have received any of her organs and pray that they are happy and well and moving on with their lives in a whole new way as a result of her gift. The transplant networks can count on receiving the same from each of us when it is our time to go. Thank you for the amazing work you are doing. It has inspired our family in wonderful ways. Have a wonderful holiday.”

– Janice Marie

P.S. Here are a couple of pictures. The second one was our attempt to create a “Thelma and Louise” moment after a 12 day road trip we took together.