(Say yes to becoming an organ donor)
I was diagnosed with Fuchs' endothelial dystrophy. This means that over time I would gradually lose my vision, and the only solution is a corneal transplant.
That's not something you want to hear when you're 22.
I was fine for 12 years, until vision in my right eye deteriorated to the point where I couldn't drive safely or see what was on my right side. Also, because I could barely tolerate light, I felt a bit like a vampire, having to stay indoors and in the dark on a beautiful, sunny day. We rely so much on vision to live a normal life and when that is compromised, it's not easy.
I had a cornea transplant and, four and a half years later, everything's fine. One day in the (distant) future I'll need another cornea for my left eye, but right now my theme song is still 'I can see clearly now....'
Every morning I look in the mirror and promise my donor that I will take care of this wonderful gift I was given. That decision to become a donor has changed my life and words cannot express my gratitude. I also thank your family for being strong and ensuring that your wishes to be a donor were carried out in the midst of their grief.
All donors and their families are amazing - you not only give the gift of life to so many, you also make a difference to their quality of life. I know I speak for all recipients when I say this.
I have signed up to be an organ donor - even tissue recipients like me can do this! I encourage you to sign up today, and let your family know your wishes. We can all make a difference.