Friday, January 1, 2010
When Sheldon was near the end of his life it was very important to him that he be able to donate his organs.
Of course with cancer that was not to be. That made Sheldon sad as he wanted to be able to help others that were here. Sheldon knew that he had no more use for his body and hoped that someone else’s life could be made better.
Sheldon did not know that he would be able to help others when he died. But he did, as a matter of fact he helped two others and all of the people those two others touch.
When I was talking to the people at the organ bank after Sheldon had died and they said because he had cancer it would not be possible to use his organs. I let Jacquie know and she told me to get back in touch with them and see if they could use his eyes.
I called them back and they called Gil back. They could and they did.
Sheldon, our very own God, gave the gift of vision to two other people. Because of Sheldon two other people can do more than just see light.
The cornea is the transparent front part of the eye that covers the iris, pupil, and anterior chamber. Together with the lens the cornea refracts light accounting for approximately two-thirds of the eye’s total optical power and contributes most of the eye’s focusing power.
There are organizations located throughout the world to coordinate the distribution of donated corneas to surgeons. I don’t know exact numbers of people on the waiting lists but I know for example in just the City of Edmonton last year there were over 400 people waiting.
About two weeks after Sheldon died the Lions Eye Bank of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario sent Jacquie and Gil a letter in the mail telling them how Sheldon had changed two different people’s lives. Jacquie and Camille called me at midnight to let me know the news. It was joyous news.
Because Sheldon always thought of others before himself (it was ingrained in Sheldon) he was able to help two different people. They both received one of his corneas.
This is not a sample of the letter that Jacquie and Gil received but it is a sample of a difference having a cornea donated has made in a young girl’s life and also how truly grateful she is. The young girl is 26 years old and lives in British Columbia (I will call her J).
J was placed on a cornea waiting list and was told that she would wait for a minimum of three or more years. As it turned out she waited four. ‘They called me two days before the operation and said they had a cornea. I was so excited, but then I kept wondering what it was going to be like. The transplant took about an hour with me having a stay in the hospital for about seven hours.’
Within a day J could see the effects of the new cornea. ‘The next morning I took the bandage off of my eye, so I could put in the anti-rejection drugs in my eye, and it was the most amazing thing in the world. I could see. I started to cry. It hit home then that I received a transplant and that someone I didn’t even know gave me sight….it’s really hard to explain.’
‘The frustrating thing is you don’t know how to say thank you. You don’t know the people who made this possible. You wish you could tell them that they’ve made something good come out of their loved one’s death. They gave me back my life.’
Because of someone just as generous as Sheldon, J no longer has to hold back. She is able to lead a normal life.
Please, remember Sheldon and fill out your donor cards. Give the gift of God to others; as you would have them do for you, please do for them.
You made us all better Sheldon. You made us all want to be better.
I miss you every day Sheldon, every single day.
It is a new day of a new year of a new decade. Let us all be inspired by a young man who barely turned 25 before he died. Let us all be inspired by a young man who knew the true meaning of love.
Happy New Year.
Love Renee xoxoxo
*artwork by my dear friend Kathy Hare