All posts by Emily Eaton

toddler boy with blonde hair and blue striped shirt

Donor Stories: Clint

I cannot thank LOPA and The Southern Eye Bank enough for offering me a platform to share Clint’s love story. I have learned over the past 14 years…that it is not because of “the loss of him” that keeps his legacy alive, but it is truly because “he still lives within me” and the love continues to grow. That is why his legacy continues to live on in the hearts of others. You allowed me to find a place for my love to go and for that I am forever grateful.

todder boy with blonde hair and a blue striped shirtOn June 7, 2008, our world came to a crashing end. My perfect 2-year-old son wondered out of our house and drowned in our front pond. I did not know what I was going to do and had to no idea how I was going to continue to breathe. I remember receiving a call from LOPA just hours after coming home without my precious boy. I was approached regarding donation. I had to ask if I could call back because I was still trying to process what I was hearing.  I was trying to wrap my head around the fact that Clint was gone and not in the next room just napping. I said, “I need to pause.”  That is exactly what I did. I hung up and said that someone was calling and asking if we would want Clint to be a donor.  It was decided that if we were donors…wouldn’t that mean  our children would be.  Not another word was spoken, and I called back, and said yes. I did not know exactly what that yes would mean and how BIG of a yes, I was giving. It was allowing Clint the chance to be a hero to a stranger, it was allowing a stranger to have a renewed quality of life and the gift of sight. The biggest thing that came with that YES was it was about to provide me with HOPE. Renewed hope that love can be lived out and grow without the physical person still here. That the most selfless act another human can give is the gift of life to a stranger. I would have platform to stand on so I could  direct all that  love that I had for him and a precious love story to share. I waited a year and reached out to LOPA and wanted to get involved. I knew that other families needed to know the importance of this big decision and that it is something that should be talked about and decided upon before being in the throes of tragedy. Donation was something that was only addressed to me when going to the DMV to get my drivers license but what about these sweet children that don’t have a say and don’t have a voice and don’t make it to the DMV…we are their decision makers. SO, I SPOKE, EDUCATED and I SHARED. I was able to meet some of the most beautiful souls through LOPA and The Southern Eye Bank.  I met other bereaved families and I felt supported and understood. I felt like Clint mattered and that he was special. It was then that I found a love for helping other families who had lost children.

mother and baby looking at each otherI later wrote a letter to Clint’s recipients and a few years later, I received the most amazing letter from Joseph, Clint’s sight recipient. We were able to meet and that was one of the most rewarding days of my life. I remembered thinking how one of the most special moments in my life was able to come from one of the darkest.

Clint’s love story led me to an amazing job where I was the program director for a nonprofit where we assisted families who had lost babies due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death. Again, I was able to share Clint’s story of pain to purpose and offer hope and healing to so many other families who were grieving.

Knowing that Clint did not die a death in vain, it was always on my heart to continue his legacy by opening a nonprofit in his memory to assist parents who have suffered the loss of a child between the ages 1 – 18 years old. I am the proud founder of The RescYOU Group. We are a nonprofit that serves ten parishes in Acadiana. We offer financial aid for end-of-life expenses, free clinical grief counseling, sibling support through our Child Life Program, monthly peer to peer grief support groups, and a protocol / system in place that pairs a newly bereaved family with a navigator that helps to guide them on what to do next.

Mother and baby black and white photoI believe with all my heart that I would not be here today if it had not been for LOPA and The Southern Eye Bank. That decision…that YES…. allowed my Clint to be a hero and it changed the entire trajectory of my grief journey. The gift of donation is a truly a ripple effect…that YES will continue to give back to us in ways that we cannot even begin to imagine. Sometimes I believe that because of CLINT and because of that YES….IT WAS TRULY MY LIFE THAT WAS SAVED!

With a grateful heart,
Clint’s Mom, Reecie Gilmore

Eye Donation Month 2022

eye donation month november 2022

Office of the Governor John Bel Edwards Proclamation declaring November as Eye Donation Month in the State of Louisiana

November 2022 is officially Eye Donation Month in the State of Louisiana, by proclamation of Governor John Bel Edwards! Click here to view the official proclamation.


2022 Gift of Sight Celebration

  • Saturday, November 5 • 11am – 2pm
  • Louisiana Children’s Museum at City Park
  • Donor families, recipients, and surgeons are invited to participate in this special event that honors the legacies of Eye Donors and celebrates the Gift of Sight.
  • Event includes admission to the museum, a donor memorial butterfly release ceremony, picnic lunch, family fun, crafts and activities, and more!

Interfaith Candlelight Vigil

  • Monday, November 7 • 6pm
  • St. Francis Xavier Church – 105 Vincent Ave., Metairie, LA
  • The Order of Saint Lazarus celebrates Louisiana organ donors and transplant recipients at this interfaith candlelight vigil. For more information or to RSVP, email or call 504-558-8900.

Kendra Scott + Southern Eye Bank Fundraiser

  • Saturday, November 12 • 12 – 4pm
  • Lakeside Mall, Metairie
  • In celebration of November as Eye Donation Month, Southern Eye Bank will receive 20% of all Kendra Scott in-store sales  November 12th from noon to 4pm. A virtual event will run for 48 hours on November 12th and 13th.
  • This is a perfect time to buy that favorite piece of jewelry, purchase holiday gifts, and fund the education programs that help our community understand the need for cornea donation.

EBAA Run for Vision

  • November 1-30
  • Virtual 5K
  • Join ophthalmologists, eye bankers, corneal transplant recipients, and donor family members to support EBAA’s mission to restore sight through cornea donation and transplantation. Sponsored by Bausch + Lomb, EBAA is once again hosting our annual Run for Vision. Run or walk within your own community any time from through November 30 and submit your time online!

Donor Drives

  • Monday, November 7 • 11am – 2pm
    • Ochsner Medical Center, 1514 Jefferson Highway, Jefferson, LA 70121
  • Thursday, November 10 • 11am – 2pm
    • Christus Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital, 524 Dr. Michael DeBakey Dr., Lake Charles, LA 70601
  • Thursday, November 17 • 11am – 2pm
    • North Oaks Medical Center, 15837 Paul Vega MD Drive, Hammond 70403
many rings stacked on three fingers of a hand on a green wood background

Kendra Scott Fundraiser

Kendra Scott Donates To Southern Eye Bank on Purchases Made Nov. 12-13, 2022

Shopping for delicate, dynamic, and fine jewelry for birthdays, anniversaries, the holidays, or yourself? Consider shopping Kendra Scott Jewelry on November 12th and 13th, 2022.

Kendra Scott jewelry 4-image collage: rings in upper left, earrings and necklaces in upper right and bottom right, and necklaces in bottom left
Images courtesy of

November is Eye Donation Month! Kendra Scott is generously donating 20% of your purchase amount to Southern Eye Bank. Visit us in-store at Lakeside Mall in Metairie on November 12th from noon to 4pm to kick off the event, and shop anytime on November 12th or 13th and mention the Southern Eye Bank fundraiser to the salesperson. Or, shop online using giveback code GIVEBACK-CGWPY.

Donations go to support non-profit Southern Eye Bank’s mission to preserve and restore sight. Your support is crucial to us as Southern Eye Bank is one of the dwindling numbers of non-profit eye banks. Thank you for all you do!

2022 Gift of Sight Celebration

The Gift of Sight Celebration is on for tomorrow—
Gift of Sight 2022 butterflies in the shape of a heart

Saturday, November 5, 2022
11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Louisiana Children’s Museum

at City Park
15 Henry Thomas Dr., New Orleans, LA 70124

Gift of Sight 2022 T-Shirt
Your ticket includes:

  • Free Admission to LCM at City Park (limited tickets)
  • Donor Memorial Butterfly Release Ceremony
  • Picnic Lunch
  • Family Fun
  • Crafts & Activities

Tickets for friends of Southern Eye Bank are $30 per person. T-shirts may be pre-ordered for $15 each or $20 each for sizes 3X-5X (limited supply available for purchase during the event). All proceeds from t-shirt sales fund the Gift of Sight Celebration. Children under 12 months old attend for free.


Sponsorship opportunities start at $300

Please contact Jennifer Babineaux for more information at or 504.891.3937 ext. 1000.

If you cannot attend the event but would still like to make a donation, you may do so.

2020 and 2021 Donor Families and recipients, please call Southern Eye Bank for special rates, 504-891-3937 ext. 1000.

Thanks to our 2022 Community Sponsors

EENT blue logo

EBAA Share Your View Photo Contest

A New View! Building hope, restoring sight, changing lives. Give a new view with the gift of sight, register as an eye, organ, and tissue donor. Eye Donation Month November 2022. #eyedonationmonth

The Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA) wants to see things from your unique point of view! This year’s Share Your View photo contest celebrates the new perspective on life that corneal transplant recipients experience from having their sight restored and the change in viewpoint donor families express when the loss of a loved one also gives someone else the opportunity to see the world anew.

This year’s theme is A New View, and the contest is open to corneal transplant recipients, donor families, and corneal surgeons. To enter, snap a photo of a view that makes you cherish the gift of sight and submit the photo to the Share Your View entry page by September 15, 2022. The winners will be featured in the EBAA’s social media campaign for Eye Donation Month in November and receive prizes (to be announced soon)!

Click here for full contest details and information

colorful bowling pins and balls

Strikes for Sight 2022

Strikes for Sight Blindfold Bowling Tournament


Join Southern Eye Bank for an evening of bowling, zydeco music and dancing, delicious local fare, spirited competition, and prizes while raising funds to increase awareness about corneal blindness and eye donation!


Thursday, September 15
7pm – 9pm

Rock ‘n’ Bowl
3000 S. Carrollton Ave. • New Orleans, LA 70118
Lane assignments at 6:45pm

$275 for a team (6 players max)
$45 per person ($35 non-bowlers)



Registration Includes:

Bowling & Shoe Rental


Soda, Wine & Beer

Rock ‘n’ Bowl is serving up perfectly fried seafood, buffalo wings, pizza, mozzarella sticks, shrimp remoulade, and chicken & sausage jambalaya.


Sponsorship opportunities start at $500

Click here to download sponsorship form

Please contact Jenny Babineaux for more information at or 504.309.0058



See you next year!

All event proceeds support Southern Eye Bank’s community education and eye-donor awareness program.

corneal transplant donor

Donor Stories: A Mother and Father in South Louisiana

corneal transplant donorWe are thankful for Southern Eye Bank in their effort in restoring sight to others. Our son was a loving person who enjoyed the outdoors, listening to music, watching TV, and being with family and friends.

We will always cherish our memories of him. We were so grateful Southern Eye Bank reached out to us about donating the corneas in both eyes. We felt blessed to offer this Gift of Sight to someone in need.

We hope for an opportunity in the future to meet the person who received this Gift. It gives us joy to know part of our son is living on. We thank you for being open to our request, and please know we respect the wishes of the recipients regarding meeting us.

Continued Blessings and prayers for our son’s recipient and continued good health.

Mother and Father
South Louisiana

blue medical background

Position Filled: Referral Coordinator

Thank you for your interest, but the position has been filled.

Position Description

In this role, you will be responsible for coordinating the donation of ocular tissue through comprehensive medical screenings, discussing donation options with potential donor families, and managing tissue recovery logistics with various organizations.

In this role, you will:

  • Assess donation potential by critically reviewing the patient’s clinical course and health history; this is done through the use of working directly with hospital nurses and physicians in a professional, efficient, and precise manner.
  • Conduct sensitive, informational discussions with potential donor families regarding tissue donation options for their loved ones.
  • Advocate for donation while communicating with partner organizations and donor families.
  • Coordinate logistics for all Donor Operations activity including creatively addressing barriers & navigating complex timelines.
  • Work with other employees to increase efficiency in the workplace.
  • Continually monitor research requests to meet distribution needs for research tissue.
  • Complete continuous training requirements to maintain proficiency and improve performance in a rapidly changing work environment.
  • Design and execute on projects as needed. Actively participate in other projects and duties as assigned.
  • Ensure all applicable FDA, EBAA, and state regulatory policies are followed.
  • Ability to assist in daily/nightly laboratory responsibilities.


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.

Required Skills/Knowledge/Abilities

  • High-level oral and written communication skills and interacts effectively with all Eye Bank staff
  • Effectively communicate and collaborate with peers while developing a positive work environment
  • Ambitiously improves self and has the ability to facilitate self-directed learning
  • Experience with computer data bases and data entry
  • Able to interpret and follow written direction
  • Ability to work long hours, nights, weekends and holidays. At times may be asked to fill in various open shifts that could also include days.
  • Position is 12 hour shift work over night (6 PM-6 AM)
  • Location of the position is Metairie, LA

Education and/or Equivalent Experience

  • High School or equivalent.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in related field preferred.
  • Relevant educational or work experience preferred.

Job Type: Full-Time
Pay: $15.00-$18.00/hour

To apply for this position, please email your cover letter and resume to

blond, green-eyed woman with hair pulled in ponytail and headband standing in front of grey brick wall and wearing blue "Southern Eye Bank" scrubs

Employee Spotlight: Neely Burns

Say hello to Neely Burns…

Neely Burns employee spotlightWhat is your job title?
I am a recovery technician.

How long have you worked for SEB?
I have worked at SEB for a year as of yesterday!

How does your work help donation?
I help with donation by procuring the eye tissue of generous donors with the upmost care to be used for transplant and research.

Why is your work important to you?
My work is important to me because every time I go in, I know I will be impacting the lives of at least two families and hope that I further both of their journeys to healing.

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