Man is thankful for organ donation giving him gift of sight

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Patrick Pruitt was just a child when his vision became blurry.

"Sight is something that we tend to take for granted until it goes away," he said. "To lose it and then gain it again, really puts it in perspective how powerful it is in our lives."

 The rambunctious 5-year-old boy was suddenly sidelined by scarring from an eye disease. Patrick couldn't see -- and then, he could.

"A year later when I was six, because of a family that made the choice to donate, I was able to receive a corneal transplant and I was able to see again," he said.

Patrick, now 34 and working on his doctorate, is grateful each and every day for the gift of sight, all because an anonymous family who lost a child donated his organs, including the eyes. The corneas let Patrick see again.

"It's a family that I carry with me. They are my heroes and they changed my life and I'm just thankful beyond words to those people," he said.

"In Michigan alone about 1,200 people a year are returned to sight through cornea transplantation," said Diana Kern.

Kern is with Eversight, the eye donation bank in Ann Arbor. It services all of Michigan and well beyond the borders of the United States, providing more than 9,000 people a second chance for sight last year, all because of organ donors.

"Eyes, actually corneas, which are just the lense of the eye, are the number one tissue that can be used," Kern said. "And most people don't realize that. Anybody in the state of Michigan that does need a transplant will receive a transplant, there's no waiting list anymore."

All thanks to so many people becoming donors, but many others have yet to register. During this eye donation month, it is a reminder that you too, can make a difference. 

"Everybody watching has that power to give that same gift and to change somebody's life in the way that my life was changed," said Patrick.

You can register to become an organ, eye and tissue donor at https://www.Donatelife.Net/register/