My eyes were blue when I was born. Or so the doctors thought. In reality, they're dark brown. For the first few months of my life, my eyes were covered with a milky film caused by posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy, a genetic eye disease that had not manifested in any other family member in any way other than requiring glasses. My parents were told when I was two months old that I was functionally blind, living in a world of faint shadow and light, and because of the way that infants' brains learn to see, I would be vision impaired for the rest of my life if I did not receive a double corneal transplant before six months. Thankfully, I received the gift of sight within that short window and because of the care of a team of talented ophthalmologists - and because of the generosity of two families in the most difficult moments of their lives. I'm lucky: while many organs can only be donated under certain circumstances of death, corneas are donable no matter the cause of death.
Give life, give sight, give hope
I don't know anything about my donors, but I know they were children too. I cannot imagine the pain that their families must have felt, but I strive every day to see all they could have. And I think I'm doing all right: I am a top student at Ryerson's RTA School of Media, ironically a very visual program. I have won writing awards. I hope to become a teacher. I have spoken on behalf of Gift of Life multiple times. I have traveled coast to coast, and have most importantly lived a life full of love. I still wear thick glasses, but I'm pretty much normal, and so thankful for everything I have seen. We don't talk about organ and tissue donation because we don't talk about death. But I hope to make people see that this topic is not only important, but one full of hope, not fear. So many are waiting, and most wait not only for transplants to improve their lives but to save them. So please, register as a donor and make your wishes known to your loved ones. It's so easy and worthwhile.