Katelyn Shove: SightLife Cornea Recipient

Katelyn’s family wasn’t aware that she had noticed. Nobody knows how it got there, but, besides robbing Katelyn’s vision, the scar on her left eye had opaqued over much of the brown center with a milky white film. But Katelyn HAD noticed. And when a post-surgery look in the mirror told her that both eyes are now the same, the three-year-old from Idaho was one elated little girl.

Katelyn’s family is more than a little pleased, too. “Thanks to you guys, we have a beautiful, happy little girl,” says Katelyn’s grandmother, Arliss Shove. The Northwest Lions Foundation and the Lions Club from Kateyln’s community split the cost of the $8,500 Patient Care Grant that paid hospital and operating room costs associated with the transplant. Dr. Tueng Shen of the University of Washington donated her time and skill to do the surgery.

As you might guess, cornea transplant surgery for someone so young as Katelyn is unusual. Of the 2,495 corneas SightLife provided for sight-restoring transplants that year, only one or two were for very young children.

Cornea transplants for young children don’t come with the same 90-percent-plus guarantee of restored sight as for adults, but early indications for Katelyn are promising. She has already experienced some restored vision in the eye and enjoys the support of a close-knit family.

“Katelyn and her family deserve our very best, and we’ll be following her progress closely,” said SightLife Chief Operations Officer Bernie Iliakis. “It is a privilege to be in a position to help a special girl like this.”