April is National Donate Life Month – Sonia Taylor’s Story

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National Donate Life Month (NDLM) was instituted by Donate Life America and its partnering organizations in 2003. Celebrated in April each year, NDLM features an entire month of local, regional and national activities to help encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors and to celebrate those that have saved lives through the gift of donation.

In support of the larger cause, Donate Life Maryland is recognizing just a few of thousands of important stories about the lifesaving and healing power of donation this month in Maryland. Meet Sonia Taylor.

Sonia Taylor’s Story | Cornea recipient and donor family member

My family and I are grateful for the legacy my nephew left behind, and I am grateful for the gift of sight that I received from a very generous cornea donor.

I remember taking road trips as a young girl with my parents: my Dad and I would always play a game to see who could read the highways signs that were furthest away. Of course, I would always win because my vision was better than his.  I was so proud of myself that I was able to read the highway signs that were the most distant. While in my teen years I loved to read the newspaper, and remember being able to stand over one’s shoulder and read along with them.

In my late twenties, I noticed that I was not able to read from a distance clearly; the highway signs and the newspaper writing appeared double, with a ghost like image after each word. My vision had begun to deteriorate rapidly.

I was diagnosed with a corneal abnormality called Keratoconus and was told the only cure for my condition would be a cornea transplant. In 1992, I received a cornea transplant in my right eye. The vision is my right eye has improved and I have a first-hand understanding of the value of organ and tissue donation.

In 2007 I lost my nephew, Jordan, in a tragic death as a result of a senseless crime. To my surprise, at the age 21, He became an organ donor. Being a recipient of a tissue transplant, as well as a donor family member has greatly affected me. My family and I are grateful for the legacy my nephew left behind, and I am grateful for the gift of sight that I received from a very generous cornea donor.

To register as a lifesaving and healing donor, visit www.DonateLifeMaryland.org or at the MVA when obtaining or renewing your driver’s license or ID.

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