Did you know many neighbors in our Delaware Valley community do not have access to receiving a cornea transplant because of financial barriers beyond their control? The Gratis Tissue Fund specifically benefits individuals for whom a cornea transplant is unattainable. A growing number of families and patients have turned to Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley for help. Since 2012, requests for gratis corneal tissue have doubled. These requests come from people from all walks of life for a variety of unpredictable reasons such as trauma, corneal disease, burns, and infections that damage one or both corneas.
It is Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley's mission to provide the highest quality and safest corneal tissue available to all those in need of a sight restoring transplant, without allowing financial barriers to stand in the way. Your Eye Bank believes everyone deserves to have the best sight and quality of life possible. As the number of uninsured or underinsured residents in our community is rising, it has become more critical than ever to implement the Gratis Tissue Fund.
Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley borrowed $250,000 from its operational reserves to launch the Gratis Tissue Fund. "It is a big investment and I am so proud of our Board of Trustees for having the foresight to make this happen," says Jim Quirk, President and CEO of the Eye Bank. "This is a tremendous commitment for our organization and we are seeking help from our community to maintain the success and future of this fund. This fund is necessary to ensure that all community members will continue to have access to sight restoring or enhancing corneal tissue."
Kacey was born with a rare eye disease called Peters Anomaly. Babies with this rare condition require surgery to correct central cornea cloudiness that can lead to glaucoma, cataracts and even blindness. Kristin, Kacey's mother, had never heard of Peters Anomaly. Kristin was distressed to learn that corneal tissue, which has a processing fee of about $3,000, would not be covered by the family's insurance. Corneal tissue provided for transplant is reimbursable through a processing fee, which covers the costs associated with the recovery, evaluation, testing, processing and distribution. The Eye Bank's Gratis Tissue Fund supported the corneal tissue needed for Kacey's surgery.
Now one year old Kacey enjoys laughing at her mother's funny faces and playing with a seahorse toy that sings lullabies. "She's so happy," says Kristin. "This really was a miraculous gift."
To make a donation, please contact Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley at (215) 563-1679 or visit their website at www.LEBDV.org.