Repost for Eye Donation Month: I am ABSOLUTELY OVERWHELMED with a grateful heart right now!
November 7, 2023 by Sheryl J. Moore
November is National Eye Donation Month. Begun in 1983, the purpose of Eye Donation Month is to
- Raise Awareness about cornea donation and transplantation
- Honor the gift of sight given by selfless donors and their families
- Celebrate cornea transplant recipients living their fullest lives thanks to the generosity of donors
- Educate about eye donation and encourage individuals to register as donors
There is one caveat, “A rule for gay men that dates back to 1994, when HIV testing was unreliable for as long as six months after a person was infected.”
Sheryl Moore, Wink’s CEO found out that her son, AJ was able to donate his heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver, but he was not allowed to donate his corneas – for no other reason than because he was gay. They learned that a federal law prohibited gay men from donating their corneas, resulting in AJ’s “dying wish” not being honored. This only added insult to injury for his heartbroken family.
There was a breakthrough in December 2020:
REPOST From 12/09/2020:
I cannot explain what it has taken for me to get to the point where I am able to say that much more has come of my son’s death, than would have come had he lived.
*I hope that makes sense.*
When AJ took his own life after being bullied for being gay, I didn’t make up my mind to change the world.
Things happened. I didn’t think they were right. I used my voice to try to change them.
And today, I am so gosh darn proud of my friend, Dr. Michael Puente of the University of Colorado School of Medicine‘s Ophthalmology area. It sounds like we have a good shot at changing the antiquated laws surrounding cornea donations from gay men.
My son’s legacy is within our reach!! AJ Betts WILL change the world!
I cannot express my appreciation and joy in knowing that my son will never be forgotten. His name will be written down, as someone who left the world a better place.
Please don’t be a bystander. Whatever YOUR cause is- stand up. Be the change you want to see in the world. -sjm
Introduction: An Aurora doctor is helping lead a push to allow more gay and bisexual men to donate corneas and other tissues after death.
Under federal regulations, men who have had sex with a man in the last five years can’t donate their corneas, which can restore sight in people with some degenerative eye conditions. The rule dates back to 1994, when HIV testing was unreliable for as long as six months after a person was infected.
Article excerpt: Moore, a Des Moines mom who started lobbying to change the donor exclusion rules after her son died at 16, said she’s seen more interest in the scientific and medical communities about making changes lately than she did when she first began talking to her congressman in 2014. Her son, A.J. Betts, died by suicide after being bullied for being gay, and learning some of his tissues were “wasted” was a kind of the final insult, she said.
“Getting the law changed so gay men can donate corneas would mean my son changed the world,” she said. “When you lose a child, your greatest fear is that they will be forgotten.”