Center for Organ Recovery & Education Encourages Individuals to Give the Gift of Sight (PA)

Pennsylvania Commemorates National Eye Donor Month with Proclamation

 Pittsburgh, March 2, 2015 – March is National Eye Donor Month, and what better gift to give someone else than the gift of sight?  The Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) is encouraging individuals to register to become a cornea donor in honor of this national observance.  Additionally, the office of the Honorable Tom Wolf, governor of Pennsylvania, has declared March as “Eye Donor Month” across the commonwealth, encouraging all citizens to educate themselves, their families and their communities about cornea donation and transplantation.  The following have experience the life-enhancing gift of cornea donation firsthand:

  • Jill Dillman-Stull of Blue Knob, Pa. in Bedford County received a cornea transplant in 2010.  With a demanding career as a flight nurse, with every patient she treats, she is thankful for the opportunity to continue to give back to others after receiving the life-enhancing gift of sight in her right eye.
  • Kelli Meerhoff’s daughter, Carly Combs of Corry, Pa. was a cornea donor following her death at the age of 21 in 2009.  Carly always liked to play up her beautiful eyes—one brown and the other blue, receiving the “Most Enchanting Eyes” award in high school. Because of Carly’s life-enhancing gifts as a cornea donor, Kelli finds comfort in knowing that someone else received the gift of sight through her daughter’s “enchanting eyes.”

“Pennsylvania residents have long benefited from sight-restoring cornea transplants,” said Susan Stuart, president and CEO of CORE.  “In 2014, CORE was able to provide the gift of sight to 323 western Pennsylvania residents and to an additional 484 residents outside of the region thanks to cornea donors.  This month, we hope to continue to increase awareness for cornea donation so that many more will be afforded the same opportunity.”

CORE’s onsite eye bank at its Pittsburgh headquarters allows its eye bank specialists to work efficiently in evaluating and distributing corneas to meet the needs of cornea transplant surgeries both regionally and nationally. With more than 95 percent of all cornea transplants being successful in restoring vision, cornea donors make the gift of sight a reality for more than 46,000 people each year.

National Eye Donor Month was established in 1983 by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and is commemorated each year with a proclamation to note this special public awareness month.  A member of Congress continues this tradition by reading a proclamation into the Congressional Record each March.

Anyone can be a potential cornea donor regardless of age, race or medical history.  It only takes 30 seconds to sign up at or

About CORE
The Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) is one of 58 federally designated not-for-profit organ procurement organizations (OPOs) in the United States.  CORE works closely with donor families and designated health care professionals to deliver the gift of hope by coordinating the surgical recovery of organs, tissues and corneas for transplantation.  CORE also facilitates the computerized matching of donated organs, tissues and corneas.  With headquarters in Pittsburgh and an office in Charleston, West Virginia, CORE oversees a region that encompasses 155 hospitals and almost six million people throughout western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Chemung County, NY.  For more information, visit or call 1-800-DONORS-7.

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