Donor Profiles

Corneal Tissue Donors Offer People a Second Chance at Sight

 

Corneal blindness affects 12 million people worldwide — and in many cases it's very treatable. However, it cannot be cured without the generosity of cornea donors and their families. Keep reading to find out more about the selfless people who make it possible for others to see the world.

 

 

Alan’s legacy of helping others lives on with his donation

Alan James Champagne was a compassionate man who loved to laugh and share laughter with others. He worked for the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, helping many New Englanders find homes. Standing at 6-foot-6, he was known as “Big Al, the Tenants’ Pal.”

Alan felt a deep connection to nature, and he explored as much of it as he could. His adventure-driven life came to a sudden and tragic end at 57 when he suffered a fatal injury while skiing with his son.

His wife, Virginia, agreed to donate his organs and tissue — including his corneas, hoping it would give some one else an opportunity to experience life as fully as Alan did. “Alan would help anyone,” she says.

Weeks later, Virginia received a letter about the transplant recipients he helped. “It was a time of such loss and heartache, yet I knew he'd given so much to others. Alan's gifts live on in good health to others — what a wonderful legacy.”

 

 

Sandra’s liver transplant inspired her to become a donor

Sandra Priscilla Crespo’s smile could light up a room. She was a loving daughter, sister, and mother. She found an outlet for her creativity and generosity in the beautiful cakes she baked.

At 29, Sandra’s sunny life was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with liver disease. A year later, she underwent a transplant. Her deep, personal appreciation for the gift of donation led her to register as a donor.

Tragically, her condition flared up again, and she ultimately lost her battle with liver disease at 32. Her family was devastated, but grateful that her donation would give others the gift of sight. “It gives our family great pride to know that Sandy's life was not in vain,” her sister Cynthia says. “She left this earth doing what she loved most: helping others.”