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Lea's story

I understand that my gift of sight comes from someone else’s immense loss.

My name is Lea, and I am a 37 year old who works with young disabled children. I also have 2 beautiful, healthy young children of my own, a 6 year old girl and an 8 year old boy. I feel lucky in my life to be blessed with an amazing beautiful family and a truly rewarding job.

Unfortunately I have not been so lucky with my eyesight and have a degenerative disease of the cornea called keratoconus which has been progressing rapidly, and a cornea transplant was the only chance I had of maintaining my eyesight and having a functioning life. I received my corneal transplant just over a year ago.

In the years leading up to my transplant I struggled with increasingly uncorrectable blurred vision, constantly changing prescriptions and intolerable hard contact lenses, extreme light sensitivity, night blindness, painful headaches from constant strain and the overwhelming fear that one day I will not be able to see my children's faces and that I will become a burden on them.

I understand that my gift of sight comes from someone else’s immense loss. I hope though that my gratitude for the selfless generosity of my donor and their family for allowing me this donation brings them some peace.

Thanks to their selfless generosity, I will continue to be able to see. I will be able to actually see my children's faces when they achieve awards at school and see their sports games instead of pretending that I could. I am able to drive a car and leave the house after dark. I can see expression on people's faces when they aren't standing right up close to me. I am able to read books to my children. I am able to see the stars in the sky at night again and I can continue my passion of helping special need children reach their potential and gain independence. Mere words cannot express how grateful I am for the immense gift that has been given to me and to my family. Every time I open my eyes I am grateful.

Despite my struggles with my vision I have always remained positive and never let on to most people the extent of my issues, I've never wanted anyone's pity, despite every day being hard I've never let my impaired vision defeat or define me. It's impossible to explain to you how privileged and blessed I feel to be given the chance for a brighter and even more positive future.

Nicky Burton