Category Archives: Donor Stories

Donor Stories: Nicholas

Nicholas was pure magic and energy. Everyone he met loved him, and he was very friendly and very outgoing. He decided at 18 while getting his license renewed that he would become an organ donor. He came home and spoke to me. He stated that if anything were to happen to him that he wanted to be spread like the stars!! He said to share the magic!! So, after he passed we decided to honor his wish. I miss him deeply, but I know he’s dancing on in Heaven knowing he made an impact by giving sight to two women in Louisiana and his organs and tissue to over 75 people and counting. Nicholas was pure joy, and he’s still spreading love with his donations and contributions.

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

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

wooden heart in color with hands around it in black and white

Donor Stories: Two Daughters and a Husband

The following is a letter Southern Eye Bank received from a donor family:


Our family would like to acknowledge Southern Eye Bank for its honorable efforts in restoring eyesight throughout the state of Louisiana. We thank you for your outreach confirming transplantation of our loving mother’s/wife’s eyes and are reaching back out regarding this donation that she was the donor of. We pray all is well with the recipient, and are thrilled to know that our beloved donor was able to give the gift of sight to someone after she passed away.

Our mother/wife was such a kind and compassionate woman, always extending love and grace to others, and gifted our family with many blessings throughout her life. We are deeply grateful to know her gifts are still reaching others, allowing someone to see and enjoy the world.

It is because of her love for others that she was able to so freely and selflessly make a donation that could so positively impact another’s life. We would love the opportunity to be able to meet the person who received this blessing. The idea that a part of her lives on brings us such comfort – and we are hopeful of the chance to get to express our joy of that in-person.

We thank you for being open to our request, and please know that we respect the wishes of the recipient regarding an interest in meeting. We send well wishes for continued blessings to our mother’s recipient and that a rich life continues on in her name.

Two Daughters and a Husband

Corneal Donor David Deblanc

Donor Stories: David Jr.

To the recipient of David Jr.’s eyes,

Our family is so happy that you have been given sight through my brother’s generous gift. As a family, we hope that his eyes last your whole life, allowing you to see the beauty of family, friends and nature, three things that were important to him.

Corneal Donor David Deblanc
Dad, Justin, and David

I, Denise, want to tell you a little about my brother. David was larger than life to family and friends, enjoying life to the fullest in many ways. He loved camping and had everything and more for camping! He and my dad, who is also a David (my dad passed a week after David), went camping many times over the years. He loved going to Mile High to pitch a tent and camp because the beauty of nature thrilled him. My nephew Justin, dad, and I went with him recently to the mountains for the Indian POW WOW in Cherokee (he and my father often went to this – it’s usually in July), and he knew everything and we had a great time. History was his favorite. He taught history and even participated in war reenactments up North. He had all the gear for this too! David would go almost every year until he got sick. David had a vast knowledge of history. If you started off with him, he could literally talk for hours and he would talk about what you would want to hear; eventually, he could go on until you had an overload. David also served in the army and was a police officer as well. He lived in Metairie, Louisiana.

Corneal Donor David Deblanc
David and his godchild

David’s love for life was infectious. He belonged to a fraternity. To this day, that frat house knows all about David (he was 49 when he passed). He’s a legend there; his brothers loved him dearly. Since we were waiting to bury him with our mom who passed 11 months before him, we decided to have a gathering to celebrate his life. The turnout was great – our house had so many people you had to say excuse me just to walk around!

The brothers came out as well as his friends, many of whom he did not see for years. I had one request for the celebration: stories had to be told about him. We discovered that David was the mastermind behind the numerous antics that went down. Oh my, they were funny stories! Quite a few guys were choked up and cried as they told their stories. My father was there and met many of his friends (he was in his bedroom). He was so pleased that there were so many that came out and that they loved his son.

David had three names that suited him just fine: Crazy Dave, Chief, and Mad Dawg. Mad Dawg was his name on the army games on the computer he played with many all over the world. Even they texted or called when he passed.

Corneal Donor David Deblanc
Mom, Dad, Lisa, and Denise

He truly was a great brother and friend. We miss him dearly and hold many fond memories. I hope you have enjoyed getting to know about our brother through this letter.

If you are willing, we would like to meet you and share stories and pictures with you.


Denise, Lisa, Nicole, and Shawn (his sisters)

organ donor stories George corneal tissue

Donor Stories: George

organ donor stories George corneal tissueMy father George was able to donate his corneas to help others and I am so thankful. He was an extraordinary man! But, before I go into detail about him, I need to share with you why the donation was so important to my father as well as my family.

My mother was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder at the age of 17. The doctors told her that at the rate her disorder was progressing she would likely only live another five years. Two years after her first diagnosis, she met my father. He saw past her illness and was adamant to marry her, even as her health continued to decline and her doctor said there was just nothing left to do. In 1990, my mother decided to come to New Orleans and get a second opinion. This doctor suggested that a liver transplant would save her life. That same year in August, my mother was matched with a donor. After 24 hours of surgery, the liver failed and the kidneys followed. As a result, she then had to undergo a liver and kidney transplant and after six weeks in the hospital, she was on the road to recovery!

organ donor stories George corneal tissueFive years later, in 1995, I was born. I was featured in medical journals as the first live successful birth to a dual transplant recipient. Donation and transplantation meant so much to my father – not only did he get to keep his wife but their family grew with a daughter. Two amazing Gifts of Life made possible by donation and transplant.

My dad always felt so blessed and was a HUGE advocate for transplantation because he would have never had a family without it. Unfortunately, we lost my mom in 2014, leaving us both heartbroken. My parents were so full of love and kindness, that they never knew a stranger. My dad was one of the friendliest people you could meet. If he could help someone, whether a family member or stranger, he never hesitated to do so.

organ donor stories George corneal tissueMy dad was 58 years old when he died. I was never expecting to lose both of my parents before I was 24 years old. He was too young and had too much life left to live. He was born in New Orleans, attended Bonnabel High School, and moved to Hammond in 1980. He was the ultimate handyman. He had a trade in auto detailing and had a side job wiring electricity in homes for my grandpa who was a contractor. Then in 1990, he took a job as a maintenance repairman at Southeastern Louisiana University, where he worked for 28 years. He treated the students like his own children. I even received a letter from one of them after his passing to share a story about he would help out with the most bizarre things, like cracking a coconut for her! He surely did go above the call of duty for his students.

He was a diehard Atlanta Braves fan and had a tattoo and memorabilia to match. He also enjoyed watching the Saints. From March to September there was nothing but baseball in the house, and then football from September to March. He also loved working on cars and jamming out to classic rock. His favorite band was Led Zeppelin. He also loved to cook and have our family over on holidays, when he would cook big meals for all of us. He liked to stay busy. He was always on the go go go and is now having a well-deserved vacation.

Thank you for having my father live on though donation. He was a selfless giver and helper, he would want his recipients to also share the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation.

George’s daughter, Gianna

wooden heart in color with hands around it in black and white

Donor Stories: Brooke’s Father

Brooke, a donor daughter, celebrates her father’s legacy by stating, “The comfort of knowing my dad is still around is such a wonderful thing… He is the biggest and best hero I’ve ever known. I couldn’t be more proud of him with his donation to Southern Eye Bank.”

wooden heart in color with hands around it in black and white

Donor Stories: A Mother’s Letter to a Recipient

I pray all is well with you. I am reaching out to you in regards to the recent donation of a cornea. My sweet two-year-old son was the donor. I am ever so thankful that he was able to give the gift of sight to someone after he passed on. Our hero was a very loving, playful, energetic little angel. He loved EVERYONE! He always wanted to lend a helping hand to anyone he could.