Cornea donation

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Denise Brock Denise Brock 3 years, 9 months ago.

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November 7, 2014 at 4:46 pm  #1267027    
JimC Forum Moderator
JimC Forum Moderator

GRACE friends,

In memory of the passing of my dear wife Liz three years ago this week, I would like to repeat a post of mine re cornea donation:

Because of the possibility of the existence of cancer cells just about anywhere in the body, an advanced lung cancer patient’s ability to donate organs or other parts of the body is extremely limited. However, it is usually possible to donate one’s corneas in order to give someone another chance at sight.

When Liz passed, the hospital staff gave us information about such a donation, and that evening I called to give my consent. (As I understand it, the sooner one gives consent, the greater the likelihood that the corneas can be used for transplantation to a recipient). The staff person I spoke to was extremely sensitive to my situation and helped me through the list of necessary medical history questions, which only took a few minutes. He also told me that in 2-3 weeks I would receive a letter informing me what had been done with the donated tissue; most of the time they can be given directly to a recipient although occasionally they are unsuitable for that purpose and if so, it is possible (but not required) to give consent to use the tissue for research purposes.

Yesterday I received that letter, which stated that Liz’ corneas had been given to a local man to restore his vision. I cannot tell you how happy it made me to know that Liz’ beautiful eyes live on, helping someone to be able to appreciate all the beauty this world has to offer.

The eye bank also has a procedure in which they act as an intermediary so that donor and recipient families can communicate with each other, and I plan to reach out to the recipient to tell him a little about Liz and how grateful I am that she could give him this precious gift.

So I would urge everyone to consider such a donation, not only for the help that it provides to the recipient, but also for the joy that it can bring to the donor’s loved ones.

Forum moderator

Jul 2008 Wife Liz (51/never smoker) Dx Stage IV NSCLC EGFR exon 19
4 cycles Carbo/alimta, 65% shrinkage
Tarceva maintenance
Mar 2010 progression, added Alimta, stable
Sep 2010 multiple brain mets, WBR
Oct 2010 large pericardial effusion, tamponade
Jan 2011 progression, start abraxane
Jun 2011-New liver, brain mets, add Tarceva
Oct 2011-Dx Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis; pulsed Tarceva
At rest Nov 4 2011
Since then:

November 10, 2014 at 8:36 am  #1267055    
Denise Brock
Denise Brock

Thank you Jim – I am so glad you reposted this. It is true that these are hard things to think about, but I agree that there is a small amount of happiness that rests in knowing that you can help someone else in the midst of all the sadness. Cheers to you and to Liz.

Operations Director for GRACE. I came to GRACE after my best friend was diagnosed with lung cancer. She passed on July 31, 2010; she lives on in her family and friends, and in her beautiful daughter who looks more and more like her every day. If she were still here today, she would be blazing the advocacy trail. All part of her legacy.

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