This week’s Favorite Friend Friday is a recipient we first met when she reached out to her donor’s family. Julie Hart, from Dowingtown, PA, is a mom of three and a software test engineer. Fittingly enough, she is also the daughter of Lion Charlie Hennessey from the Eagleville-Trooper Lions Club. Her life took a turn she would never forget in March of 2015.
“I scratched my cornea while using contacts which caused an ulcer in my eye,” Julie recalls. She started out at her local ophthalmologist but was soon referred to a corneal specialist in West Chester. Her regimen of constant eye drops continued to no avail, and was finally sent to Wills Eye Hospital in June 2015 where she was officially diagnosed with acanthamoeba, a rare corneal disease.
By the time Julie got to Wills Eye, the infection had been persisting for three months already. “I had no vision out of my left eye,” Julie remembers of that time. “Prior to my infection I was driving a school bus part time, but now I had to stay at home. I was so sensitive to light—I couldn’t go outside, be on the computer, watch TV. I no longer could do any of the things I used to enjoy. It was debilitating.”
Almost a year after the initial infection, in February of 2016, Julie received a cornea transplant in her left eye. Since then, she has been able to get back to a normal routine, spending time with her family and friends, and going back to work. We are all so excited to have her as our guest speaker at District 14-P’s Sight Night next month!
“Don’t hesitate to think about donating,” Julie says as she thinks about the selfless gift a stranger gave to her. “It is so valuable and so appreciated.”