A memorial and garden was dedicated at the University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City Monday for people who’ve given a part of themselves to others. Cindy Reed of the Iowa Lions Eye Bank explains. She says the memorial honors the more than 20-thousand Iowans who’ve given their eyes, tissues and organs over the last 50 years in order to “provide the gift of sight, the gift of life, and the gift of answers through research.”
Reed says the memorial is the largest of its kind in the state. She says the theme of the memorial is “Hope, transformation and renewal” and she says it was inspired by the stories of the families and recipients who’ve gone through the donor process. The eye bank reported a record one-thousand-65 donor eyes received and 686 corneas provided for transplant in 2004. Of that total,
252 Iowans and 228 patients elsewhere in the United States received corneal transplants.
Reed says researches are also making strides in finding a cure for macular degeneration — the leading cause of blindness in Iowans. She says last year Doctor Ed Stone discovered one of the genes for macular degeneration and he’s working on a cure for that. She say another doctor has discovered the chemical switch they think turns on macular degeneration.
Reed says the memorial is a fitting tribute to the efforts of many. She says there’s a limestone memorial in the shape of an eye with an artist’s rendition of a mosaic in the middle of it. Surround that is a stream, a waterfall and a bridge that leads into the memorial. There’s a space called the “Healing Circle” to sit and gardens planted around the memorial space. Reed says you can make a donation to the memorial to honor someone you care about. She says there’s a brick path with limestone pavers that are for sale and can be inscribe to honor someone. For more information on the memorial, you can call 866-Help-See (866-435-7733). Or you can surf to:www.givetoiowa.org/lions