Donor Family and Recipient Stories

Grateful for Life’s Second Chances

Jim Noble

As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Jim Noble is no stranger to the need for second chances. He has made a career of seeking justice while protecting the public, which sometimes means offering other people a second chance at life. Little did Jim realize that he himself would soon be on the receiving end of a second chance – through the gift of tissue donation. Read More

A Legacy of Kindness


Aolani was a vibrant, outgoing, very active 10-year-old. She loved participating in activities: every single one she heard of, she wanted to attend. At school, she was on the staff of the school newspaper. She enjoyed being a reporter as she talked with students and teachers about school events and reporting on them. Part of her duties included announcing events and the daily birthdays on the in-school network watched on class monitors. Read More

EBAA congratulates “Through My Eyes” contest winner: Terry Robinson

Dr. Bowman

Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA) established the “Through My Eyes” contest to give cornea recipients and donor family members the opportunity to share their experience of receiving sight or giving sight through their loved ones using drawings, paintings, photographs, or videos. Read More

North Texas tissue donors aiding others around the world

Dr. Bowman

Transplant Services Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center recently provided 46 ocular allografts for transplant to support two Dallas area ophthalmologists as they conducted a medical mission trip to Mombasa, Kenya. Read More

Family completes circle of care

Michael Mayer and Whitney

Peg Breeding’s family experienced both sides of tissue donation and transplant. Her daughter Whitney received donated tissue grafts in her jaw when she was 17, and her partner of eight years, Michael Mayer, donated his corneas and bone when he died. Read More

Tendon transplant puts knee, life together again

Karen and her horses

Multiple sclerosis left Karen unable to ride her beloved horses and affected her ability to walk. Over time, though, her condition improved enough that she tried riding again. But a new horse wasn’t broken as she thought and threw her, badly damaging the ligaments in her knee. A tendon transplant helped rebuild her knee and allowed her to walk without assistance, helping her put her life together again. Read More

Firefighter/Paramedic continues to help others in death

Justin Spieker

Justin Spieker had found his passion in life was helping people. He fulfilled his passion by being a firefighter and paramedic with the Southlake, Texas, Fire Department. After his death, he continued to help others through donations of eyes, tissue, and organs. Read More

New tendon reboots soccer career

Paige kicks the ball

Paige’s soccer season during her sophomore year did not go quite as planned. During the first day of soccer practice she went up for a ball when one of her teammates cleated her. She felt her knee hyperextend and fell to the ground from the pain. After several minutes on the ground with the trainers massaging her knee, Paige was able to get to the bench with assistance. Read More

The “routine” transplant that saved Donna Roger’s vision

The Lea Club prepared a float for Bowie’s “Jim Bowie Days” parade

The most dramatic aspect of Donna’s story is its lack of drama. A routine health care visit discovered a problem. Routine treatment allowed her to live and work normally. A “routine” transplant saved her vision. And now she enjoys a very active routine during retirement. Read More

Corneal transplants keep woman at helm of music magic

Patti Diou and Dr. Wayne Bowman

As executive director of the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts in Arlington, Texas, Patti Diou oversees an annual series of free outdoor concerts with musicians like Pentatonix, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and the Old 97’s. Mrs. Diou says she couldn’t have shepherded all this summertime fun without the two donated corneas that allowed her physicians at UT Southwestern Medical Center to maintain her sight. Read more

Transplants enable more enjoyment with family, grandchildren

Kenneth Cornea Transplant

Kenneth's family had a history of eye disease, and five years ago he was told he needed a cornea transplant. Recently, he underwent a cornea transplant on his other eye. Now he's enjoying more activities with his family and grandchildren. Read more

Letters reveal how donation changed lives


Letters exchanged between a tissue recipient and a donor’s sister reveal how the donation of eyes, skin, and bone was another way the donor could help others. Read more

New vision for new insights

Emma playing piano

The need for a cornea transplant was not what Emma, a high school student, expected. But the transplant allowed her to continue with her passions – reading and discussing current affairs. Read more

Life returns from the darkness


After vision problems plagued David for years, his corneas ruptured, plunging him into months of darkness. Cornea transplants helped restore David’s vision and let him return to his life. Read more

An adventure every day

Thomas Pettit

With Thomas Pettit, every day was an adventure. Whether it was taking the kids fishing, starting (and not finishing) projects around the house, or working with the softball league, Thomas embraced each day fully. Read more

Friendship grows out of tragedy

Joey Ianeiro and Brandon Witt

Two young men become friends after one receives tissue donated by the other man’s stepfather. Read more

A parent’s grateful heart


A story from a mother who remembered her son’s request during a difficult time. Read more

Giving thanks

Joey Ianiero

As a second baseman, Joey Ianiero was turning a double play when the runner slid late and crashed into his left knee. The incident tore his ACL, MCL, and meniscus, known as the Unhappy Triad. Joey’s doctor offered several options for how to repair the ruptured ACL, including receiving a donor tendon. Read more

A life of service

Mike Maughan, Ph.D

For Mike Maughan, Ph.D., service was a way of life. Mike was very active as an adult volunteer in every aspect of his Scout troop’s activities, but his special joy was being an archery instructor. Sadly, before Mike could begin his tenure as Scoutmaster, he passed away. His family celebrated his legacy of service in two wonderful ways. Read more

Envisioning the future

Britanya Kennedy-Thompson

For five years after I was diagnosed with Keratoconus, the disease was controlled by hard contact lenses. Keratoconus is a degeneration of the structure of the cornea, where the shape of the cornea slowly changes from the normal round shape to a cone shape. One day, I woke up with excruciating pain in my left eye and I couldn’t see. I made an emergency appointment with the eye doctor. He told me that my cornea was so stretched it tore. Read more

Juan’s love story

The Espino family in front the 2012 Tournament of Roses Donate Life float.

It is a love story…  Anyone listening to Juan speak quickly realized he was sharing a love story. On a beautiful spring morning in Fort Worth at Transplant Services Center’s annual Celebration of Life, Juan Espino, a donor husband, shared the story of his wife and the people she helped through her donation of eyes, organs, and tissues. Read More


Pam Canal

Josh Canal was a hero in every sense of the word to all who knew him. He had the nickname of “Superman” from friends and family because of all he had been through in life. Yet he never once complained but took every opportunity to live life to the absolute fullest and did his best to make sure all who were around him did so as well. Read More

A new insight

Mark Smith

My story starts a long time ago, although I wasn’t aware of it. I’ve never had very good eyesight and just thought that it was something I would live with forever. And then it got worse. I learned I have a disease which affects the innermost layer of my cornea. Read More