Transplant allows Gordon to see once againPublished 10:34am Friday, April 19, 2013
Editor’s Note: April is National Donate Life Month, and The Post-Searchlight will be running a series of stories throughout the month focusing on organ donation, and the lives that it touches. This is the second story in the series.
Eddie Gordon has struggled with vision problems for several years since being diagnosed with keratoconus, a degenerative disorder of the eye.
Gordon said that even though it is usually considered to be a progressive disease, his case developed suddenly — that he woke up one morning and couldn’t see.
Although Gordon had long had a strong faith in God, he said he turned away from his faith, became angry with God for his condition and was depressed and bitter with the world.
In January 2007, he received a corneal transplant in his right eye. The procedure was performed in Atlanta and required several trips back and forth to check on healing, which he said was slow.
It was while his uncle was driving him back from Atlanta that Gordon says God spoke to him, telling him that if he would return to his faith and start to see people with his heart, God would restore his eyesight. He recommitted to his faith.
As the first transplant healed, he kept putting off a second surgery for various reasons — including the cost of the procedure.
His cousin Donna Goodman, who had long suffered from a heart condition, had been on the heart transplant list for several years. She was, herself, a designated organ donor. She kept telling Gordon that if she didn’t make it, he could have her corneas. Gordon assured Goodman, a single parent, that if that time came, he and his wife would take her two daughters, now ages 13 and 8, into their home and raise them as their own.
When Goodman died in February, Gordon’s family asked for one of her corneas. Gordon said there was so much going on at that time, making funeral arrangements, and taking custody of her two girls, and he was discouraged from the surgery, thinking he couldn’t handle it financially.
About this same time, he received word from the doctors in Atlanta who had attended Goodman that because of blood work she had received, the corneal tissues weren’t suitable. Further discouraged, Gordon said he went in the back yard to pray about it and God told him not to waver in his faith, that all would work out.
Later that evening as the family was gathered in Gordon’s home, his oldest daughter came running into the kitchen crying and saying, “Mrs. Mary Jane Hall had posted on her Facebook page how he needed help.” Even though she did not know him, she had announced it at her church, Climax Baptist Church. The congregation wanted to help Gordon do anything they could, so that he would be able to work and look after Goodman’s two girls. The church raised $3,500 to pay for his surgery. And, with that, Gordon said everything began to come together.
A cornea was received from the Georgia Eye Bank and Gordon had surgery in Thomasville on Feb. 15, 2013.
Gordon said it was all made possible by God working through Dr. Aric Aldridge in Bainbridge, Dr. Michael Magbalon in Thomasville, who did the surgery, June Faircloth and her contact with LifeLink, her supportive prayers, and the generosity of the Climax Baptist Church members.
Gordon returned to work at the Bainbridge Service Center within one month, and his healing seems to be much quicker than from the first transplant.
He and his wife Tesha now have a household of four girls (two age 13, one 12, one 8) and a 14 year-old boy.
“It has just been a blessing all the way around,” he said.