The Gift of Perspective

Jeff Govednik is an avid volunteer for Donate Life Illinois. His resolute passion for spreading awareness of organ and tissue donation is the product of a life changed by the gift of sight through cornea transplantation. Jeff is a shining example of how organ and tissue donation changes the lives of those who are so fortunate to receive a lifesaving or life-enhancing gift. We are fortunate that Jeff graciously agreed to share his story to celebrate March as National Eye Donor Month.

Initially, I thought that my eyesight was just getting a little weak. I had problems playing baseball and lost a few golf balls. I also strained while reading or driving. With time, my eyesight gradually worsened. Upon visiting the optometrist to get a pair of glasses, I was told that I needed to see a specialist.

I remember the first time I heard the word “keratoconus.” The doctor explained to me that Keratoconus is a degenerative disease of the corneas that causes patients to gradually lose the ability to see detail. My doctor was able to slow the progression of the disease for a time, but eventually it evolved to where I was unable to see with my left eye. It became apparent that a cornea transplant was the only treatment that could restore my vision.

It was a sobering moment when my doctor called the Illinois Eye-Bank. I was no longer worried about sports or long weekends. I was now scared that I would lose my job as a pharmacist. Would I be able to participate in all of the hobbies that I enjoyed? How would my life change?

 

Cornea recipient's vision before and after transplant.

My first cornea transplant was in 1999, and my second was in 2009. I was given more than the gift of sight—I was given perspective. I now savor every sunset, value every walk and appreciate every bike ride. Did my life change? Absolutely. Can I do everything that I did before? No, but I gained an appreciation for the things that I could do. I am still a pharmacist, and I am able to continue pursuing my love of sports.  

When you register your decision to be an organ and tissue donor, you do so much more than save lives. You are giving the gift of future experiences. This is a gift so great that it is truly incomprehensible. My donors touched my life as well as the lives of all those around me. Through cornea transplantation, I was given the gift of sight as well as the gift of perspective.

Please, take 30 seconds to register your decision to be an organ and tissue donor at DonateLifeIllinois.org.

Sincerely,

 Jeff Govednik

To learn more about cornea transplantation and the gift of sight, visit the Illinois Eye-Bank Web site. You can also join their NEW Facebook Fan Page.

 
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4 Responses to The Gift of Perspective

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