db4Kid We Want To Be When We Grow Up

“I feel special, not everyone gets to wear glasses and I think I always have the coolest ones.” 

Any kid, or adult for that matter, who has ever been nervous or ashamed to wear glasses can learn a lesson or two from Grace.

When Grace was born, her doctor believed she may never see. She had congenital conditions causing glaucoma in both eyes and corneal scarring on her right eye. Her mother, Leslie, refused to believe that nothing could be done and turned to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for a second opinion.

We talked to Grace and Leslie about Grace’s fight for her vision.

How did Grace get to where she is now? 

Leslie:   Grace has undergone many surgeries, starting at sixteen days old. She had glaucoma surgeries in both of her eyes and continues to take eye drops to control her eye pressure and preserve her vision.  As part of her journey, Grace was fortunate to receive four donor corneas and donor tissue to aid in restoring and preserving her vision.

How do you stay positive throughout the many ups and downs of this journey?

Leslie:   Grace’s initial odds for vision were low, a 50 percent chance to have enough vision to have traditional schooling but that she would never drive a car, etc. So, although she has had setbacks, we try and focus on how far she has come and how difficult it could have been. She has far exceeded the doctors’ initial expectations.

Grace:   I’m just happy I can see!

Has your condition held you back from anything you want to do? 

Grace:   Nope. I play soccer and flag football just like other kids.

What do you look for when you’re choosing glasses?

Grace:   I look for my favorite colors purple, pink and blue and neat designs. I like them WILD! I also like to try on lots of styles and my mom posts the pictures on Facebook to have people vote on which ones look the best on me. It’s hard choosing; I just want them all.

How does finding cool glasses make you feel? 

Grace:   I’m excited to show my friends at school to see if they notice my new glasses. I feel special, not everyone gets to wear glasses and I think I always have the coolest ones.

Without corneal transplants, Grace wouldn’t have been able to make all this progress. How can you enroll to be or make sure you are a tissue donor?

Leslie:   Each state has its own registries for tissue and organ donation. At organdonor.gov your state-specific registries can be located.  By registering online, you can choose what tissue or organs you wish to donate. While registering to be a donor is important, it is just as important to let your family know your wishes.

We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Grace! Learn more about her journey at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyulu6fn6a0