HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – March marks Eye Donor Awareness Month.
Alabama has one of the top eye banks in the world.
Alabama Eye Bank Regional Director Johnny Goins, Jr. tells WHNT News 19 we have one of the top five eye banks in the US. He says they average 17 donors a day.
He knows the eye bank well. He’s been there for 24 years. He helps collect corneas from donors. They then get distributed to people who desperately need them.
The boxes they ship in stack to the ceiling. Over the years, this job builds karma.
Goins estimates, “I would imagine that I have probably personally helped in restoring sight of over 6,000 people.”
His branch only covers north Alabama, but he serves the state, “We take care of Alabama emergencies first. Then we take care of scheduled Alabama surgeries. And then after that we’ll look outside the state of Alabama and try to help other eye banks.”
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the reality of what they do here, but don’t forget the mission. You might need it one day.
Goins explains, “It could be from a disease. It could be from injury, from a trauma. It could be from age just as you get older.”
A transplant could change your whole life.
“They can be totally blind and right after their transplant be able to count fingers, to see colors,” says Goins.
But the reason for the real success here – it’s right in the name.
Goins muses, “In the south, everyone is giving, more giving than most, and I believe that’s why we’re so successful.”
At the Alabama Eye Bank, they ask that people donate when they pass on.
But don’t just check a box on your driver’s license. Let a loved one know, so they can make sure it gets done.
It could change a life.