30 Stories in 30 Days: A Clear Vision for the Future

Linda Ellerman

Thanks to a cornea transplant, Linda is able to see clearly.

Linda Ellerman is an advocate for organ and tissue donation and a staunch believer in miracles from God because she is “living proof” of the benefits of organ and tissue donation. Her story began nearly six years ago when she was diagnosed with an eye infection.

A specialist at University of Illinois Medical Center determined she had a corneal fungal infection that was causing her cornea to become cloudy. “It was destroying the cornea tissue and rendering me completely blind in my left eye,” she explained.

Another problem was high ocular pressure. She said it was so great that it made cornea surgery difficult. The doctor explained that it would be like trying to put a patch on an inflated balloon. “As soon as a cut was made to remove the damaged cornea tissue, the balloon would pop,” she said. “This would complicate knowing where to put the donated tissue because the cornea would shrivel as soon as it was cut.”

Tissue rejection also was a possibility, and she would likely need a second transplant, Linda said. Thankfully, this was not the case, and five years have passed since her surgery. “My life is completely normal,” Linda said. “I am still at risk for tissue rejection, but the risk is 1 percent or less.”

Linda’s experience moved her to become an advocate for organ and tissue donation. “It was something I had always supported before but did not know very much about. Now, I know quite a bit and I continue volunteering for the Illinois Eye-Bank and Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network.”

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