It’s never easy to be away from your children, especially when they’re embarking on a months-long mission trip on the other side of the world. Dana Murphy knew this, and she prepared herself for a tough goodbye before she dropped her daughter, Katie, off at the airport. What she didn’t expect was for Katie’s trip to Cambodia and Thailand to be cut short by a rapid and terrifying turn of events. 

Katie had been having the time of her life giving back and serving others in Asia. Her only roadblock was a mild case of “pink eye” that had her visiting a local medical clinic in Bangkok. After days of treating what her doctors thought was a mild viral illness, Katie awoke to complete blindness in her left eye. Even scarier – her doctors did not know what caused the blindness, if it was reversable or if it would spread to her other eye.

Katie immediately reached out to her mother who made the trek around the globe to support her. Dana leaned on their faith for strength during the long trip, counting down the hours until she was reunited with her daughter.

Dana remembers fondly how positive Katie’s attitude was during the entire ordeal. Both women continued to pull strength from their faith as they immediately returned home to the United States to be evaluated by doctors in Birmingham, Alabama.

While doctors never could determine what stole Katie’s eyesight, they knew that a corneal transplant was necessary to restore her sight. They thanked God that the blindness had not spread to her other eye. It took two years for Katie’s eye health to stabilize enough for a corneal transplant, but the wait was well worth it. Katie’s vision was restored thanks to donor tissue from a young donor.

Since her transplant, Katie went on to graduate from pharmacy school and accomplish great things as a young adult. Her mother cheered her on, always remembering the family that changed their lives.

“’Thank you’ is all I can tell that family,” said Dana. “We were greatly blessed with this gift of tissue.”

See more of Dana’s story here. 

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