Dear Donor Family,

It has taken me a long time to write this letter and so I hope you will forgive me for my delay. I guess it has taken me this long to process my emotions and to be able to express my extreme gratitude.

Due to your loved one's organ donation, I have been given back the gift of sight! Previous to your family member's organ donation, I was losing my sight due to a rare disease called "Fuchs Dystrophy". I am a 46 year old man and a heavy equipment operator.

I was unable to work, read, or really do anything. My quality of life had drastically decreased. I was seriously depressed and wondered how I would manage living my life without being a burden to my family and friends. Since the disease came on quickly (over a five year period), I had no idea how to adapt to life as a sightless individual.

My life is just beginning because of your family member's gift of a cornea! I am deeply sorry for your loss, though I hope that it is some consolation and perhaps some support in your healing process knowing that there is someone whose life has been permanently altered and have been given a chance to love the rest of my life with sight! A life in which I can appreciate the vibrant colors of flowers and trees... have the ability to be a fully functioning individual... to drive my truck... to see fireworks... to continue my career and to live my life fully and independently thanks to your loved one's gift.

Mere words cannot express the depth of my gratitude. Again, I am so sorry for your loss. I hope knowing how successful my surgery turned out and the incredible impact for my life your gift has been gives you some small comfort.

Very Sincerely,

To My Hero,

Never will I know your name. Nor will I ever get to see your face, hear your voice, or see your smile as we meet. But I am forever in your debt, and I will forever be grateful to you. You are an angel sent from above. Because you cared enough about the lives of others, you gave of yourself. You checked that box saying that in the event of your death, you would freely give of yourself, so that others may have a second chance with their lives. To let another see their children grow and have children of their own.

I'm one of those people who you have given a second chance to. While my life was never itself in any danger, the use and availability of my left eye was. But you, my Angelic Hero...YOU gave me a second chance. YOU gave me the gift of sight. To see out of BOTH eyes, my children playing, laughing, and growing into wonderful people.

Thank you for what you have given to me. I'm so very sorry that you cannot be here for me to personally show you my gratitude. I can only hope that you are looking down from above and smiling. In fact, in my heart, I could NEVER truly thank you, or the family and friends that you left behind enough for your generosity and love.

I'm trying my best to honor you, and to "pay it forward," as a fellow Organ/Tissue Donor myself. That is by spreading and bringing awareness to the cause and need of donation. In my quest, I hope that I am honoring you, your gift, and your life. Not to mention your legacy.

On this Thanksgiving Day, not only will I be thankful for my children, my husband, my extended family, and my firends. My Angelic Hero, most of all, I will be eternally thankful for YOU.