Jaylynn Parker – Cornea Recipient

“A family had to agree to cornea donation in order for my daughter to be on the receiving end, and if it wasn’t for that family doing that, we would not be where we are today. That means everything to us.” – Kristen Parker

In November of 2011 our lives changed as my husband and I were remodeling our bathroom. Our 2-year-old daughter, Jaylynn, was playing around when suddenly I heard a scream. Jaylynn had managed to get a hold of an old piece of door trim that we had torn down. I ran into the living room and found her crying and holding her eye. Jaylynn told me she was trying to get her hair out of her face and poked her eye. There was no blood—only tears from her crying. I took Jaylynn to a local hospital and they said she had a cornea scratch and would just need to give it time to heal. Within a 24-hour period Jaylynn’s eye got worse, and we took her to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Doctors told us she had developed a corneal ulcer and admitted her straight into surgery. They told us they might not be able to save her eye due to the extent of the infection.

The next day the medical staff informed us she would need a cornea transplant. I was so afraid. Children’s immediately listed her for transplant and within a few hours they found a donor. I was relieved and happy, but also immensely sad at the same time because I knew a family was grieving a loss on the other end. I was extremely grateful for their selflessness and for giving my daughter a fighting chance to keep her sight. Fortunately, Jaylynn’s surgery was a remarkable success. We are now eight years out from the procedure and she has 20/25 vision. My family is deeply grateful for the kindness and generosity of the donor and donor family, and to the staff at Cincinnati Children’s and the Cincinnati Eye Bank for Jaylynn’s incredible Gift of Sight.

Kristen Parker, Mother of Jaylynn

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