For more than a decade, Jesse Theodore has signed-up as an organ donor. But when the health of his 52-year-old wife, Virginia, slowly deteriorated because of cancer, the attending community midwife gently encouraged the family to consider organ/tissue donation and advised them to visit Baguio General Hospital & Medical Center.
While at his wife’s bedside, Jesse opened the conversation on eye donation that evening. He then asked her “Can we make a difference in people’s lives?” and she expressed her desire to donate her eyes upon her death, Jesse recalls.
A day later, Jesse visited BGHMC to signify the willingness of Virginia as a donor in the event she will not survive. They know that helping others would make Virginia happy.
Three days after their visit, Virginia passed away surrounded by her warm and loving family. They then called the BGHMC Eyebank & Eye Tissue Retrieval Unit to facilitate her request of giving the gift of sight. Jesse and Dave decided to donate Virginia’s eyes, a decision that helped them deal with their pain that day.
“We are happy that we made the best decision. This is a blessing that we are able to make a difference in the lives of the recipients” says Dave, her son.
“My wife felt it was her duty to come to someone’s aid. Virginia was a giving person. This was her last gift.” shared Jesse.
Now, Virginia’s family takes every opportunity to tell others about organ/tissue donation. Jesse shares his family’s story, also urges others to become organ donors. “It’s all about sharing and caring” he says.
BGHMC Procurement Transplant Coordinator – Jade Malicdan, said that the hospital was very happy with the Theodore family’s initiative & decision as this made the donor family the first donor to approach the BGHMC Eyebank & Eye Tissue Retrieval Unit in order to facilitate retrieval of their loved one’s eyes.
“We hope that this will inspire and encourage others to become an eye/cornea donor, to be a miracle for someone blind” he said.
The BGHMC Eyebank and Eye Tissue Retrieval Unit coordinator – Dr. Lilette Marie B. Canilao emphasized the need for a proactive attitude towards eye tissue donation to alleviate corneal blindness in Northern Luzon.
“We will continue to strengthen our campaign on organ donation in the region, and partner with organizations and communities to advance our advocacy” she added. #PartnersInSight #BGHMCEyeBank #EyeBankPH