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Cornea Recipient, Kidney Donor, Life Changer

Cornea Recipient, Kidney Donor
“That’s what I wanted to do. Not for Steve, not for anybody else. It was for me, period. There was never any doubt.” – Faith

When Faith received a cornea transplant, the gift shaped her worldview in more ways than one.

It was 1998, and Faith was a recently divorced mother of two young kids. Her eyesight had been declining for years because of hereditary keratoconus: a condition that causes the cornea to bulge and vision to blur. When her doctor recommended a cornea transplant, she agreed. It wasn’t until she was getting prepped for surgery that she asked where the lenses were “made.”

She learned then that the cornea would come from a donor. A young boy had passed away, and his family decided to donate his corneas. 

Faith had a son herself, and she couldn't imagine giving part of him away after such a tragedy. She wondered what it took to give that kind of gift. She thought the family "must be giving out of an abundance of loving…to even think to do that.”

At that time, Faith was in survival mode. But she dreamed of the day that she'd feel rich enough in heart to give that abundantly. The thought stayed at the back of her mind, but it took over a decade for her to realize what she had to offer.

By 2009, Faith was remarried and working to better herself. She had a job as a janitor, and was also taking weekly motivational speaking lessons. When she finished the course, her teacher left her with a question. It was like the one that had been on her mind from the start – how was she going to make a monumental difference? What story could she tell? 

While Faith pondered the possibilities, her answer came in the form of an email. Her cousin, Kathleen, was reaching out to find a kidney donor for her husband Steve. A realization hit Faith like lightning. She immediately responded, “Me!”

Faith had some convincing to do. Kathleen hadn’t really been asking her cousin directly. Even Steve pressed her, asking, “Are you really sure? Because so many people said that they would and for some reason, they didn't.” Faith responded that she was certain. The testing took place — and she was a match – but there were still other people to convince. 

Faith’s parents were initially opposed to her donating a kidney. They said it was too risky and tried to talk her out of it. At work, she struggled to find paid sick leave for the surgery and recovery period.

Against all opposition, Faith stood her ground. Until that point in her life, she’d often let the opinions of others sway her. Deciding to donate and following through was a chance to live life on her own terms and do what she truly believed in. She never wavered. “Because that’s what a commitment was and that’s what I wanted to do. Not for Steve, not for anybody else. It was for me, period. There was never any doubt.” 

The surgery was a success. In the process of donating her kidney, Faith found the strength she’d so admired in her donor family within herself. She recognized her own abundance, seized her moment and unleashed her transformative power on the world. 

Learn more about living organ donation.

Faith’s story is courtesy of the Indiana Donor Network.

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