Leap of faith landed with the gift of sight

Moments after landing her first skydive, Crystal Ellis (left) had her first face-to-face meeting with Misty Troester, mother of her corneal transplant donor. (Photo submitted)

By Molly Moser

On April 28, 2000, a baby boy came into the world. As he grew, he developed a love of fire trucks, John Deere tractors, farm animals, and Todd, his family’s garbage man. The boy’s parents, Misty Troester and Paul Moser, would experience tremendous loss just five years later, when their energetic young son, Jarren, was accidentally run over by a fire truck while playing near the Guttenberg Fire Station. 

“On the night of the accident, we got a call from the eye bank about donating Jarren’s corneas,” recalls Troester, who is an organ donor herself. The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped surface that makes up the outermost layer of the eye. U.S. eye banks provide tissue for an average of over 59,000 corneal transplants a year.

“I explained to Paul that if the tables were turned and it was our child needing something, that I’d hope someone who was in our situation would say yes,” said Troester.

In the midst of their tragedy, Jarren’s parents decided to give the gift of sight by donating their son’s corneas to the Iowa Lions Eyebank. Troester learned the age, sex, and state of residence of the two recipients, and wrote a letter to each of them. The eye bank held the letters, and within a few months, informed Troester that her letters had been received.

Continued in the pages of The Guttenberg Press

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