My name is Cassie and I am the recipient of two corneal transplants. In 2010, when I was 20, I received a corneal transplant in my left eye. Two years later I received a corneal transplant in my right eye.
My vision first started to deteriorate towards the end of high school. I was diagnosed with a condition known as Keratoconus. At first I was able to manage with glasses and contact lenses. My vision however continued to deteriorate to the point where I was having a number of near misses with cars and was getting lost when I went out. I soon stopped going out and if I did I would rely on someone to help me get there. A corneal transplant was recommended.
The day that I received the phone call to say there was a cornea for me is a day that I will never forget. So many thoughts and emotions were running through me all at the same time. While I was in shock and trying to work out what I needed to do next, I was also feeling sad. A family had just lost their loved one and while they were grieving they were consenting to donating their loved one’s organs and tissues. I can’t imagine how tough that would have been. At that time there was nothing that I could do, however I made sure that I wrote to them afterwards to say thank you.
Since the transplants I have regained my independence. I have purchased a unit and have moved out of my Mum’s house. I am back to joining in on activities and going out with friends. I have started studying again and have been giving my friends a challenge when playing sport. In May 2014 I completed one of my goals of climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I look forward to the new challenges and activities ahead.
With each new day I say thank you to my donor families – I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for them.