For Donor Families

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As a donor family member we applaud you for your generous gift. We hope to support you as you grieve the loss of your loved one, and offer programs to honor their memory.

Finding Help for Yourself or a Loved One:


Counseling and support services can be a guide through some of the challenges of grieving as a person adjusts to their loss. Grief support and counseling can be provided by professionals. Self-help groups are often available and are there for participants to support one another.

Gift of Sight Memorial Quilts

The San Antonio Eye Bank Donor Family Quilt is an opportunity to honor and remember donors and allow transplant recipients to express their gratitude for the gift of sight. Organizations across the country use quilts as a visual display of how lives are touched by donation and transplantation.


Our immense gratitude to J Larry Beauchamp and Marilyn Bellows of the Greater San Antonio Quilt Guild for their dedication and volunteerism to our program. The beauty of their support lives on after their deaths in every quilt blanket they loving stitched. Our appreciation to Lion Kathryn Voorhees Bellamy for volunteering to maintain the program.


Local cornea and eye donor families and transplant recipients are invited to contribute a patch to the quilt. The quilt is never finished, patches are always accepted. Click here to learn more about how to participate.

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Bereavement Resources

Bereavement Resources on the internet:

Grief Support Groups and Centers

205 W. Olmos Drive

San Antonio, TX 78212

210-736-4847 (HUGS) 

Learning How To Support Friends or Family Who Are Grieving:

Death and grief spare no one and are normal life events. All cultures have developed expectations and norms about coping with death. It is important to understand someone else’s loss from the perspective of the cultural and family traditions unique to that individual.


When people are grieving, thoughts and emotions are often heightened. People who care about the bereaved are often unsure how to be helpful; they do not know what to say or do. The primary and most important thing to do is to show that you care by being present and by listening and supporting family and friends who are grieving. Offering advice or suggestions is not needed; try to become comfortable with quietly supporting a person with your presence.


There is no right way to grieve and mourn. Be very careful not to impose your ideas, beliefs and expectations on someone else, no matter how much you think it might help. 

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 The following are some suggestions of ways you can support a grieving friend or family member: 


  • Acknowledge all feelings. Their grief reactions are natural and necessary. Do not pass judgment on how well they are or are not coping.


  • Understand and accept cultural and religious perspectives about illness and death that may be different from your own. For example, if a family has decided to not allow their children to attend the funeral because of their beliefs that children should not be exposed to death, support their decision even if this may not be what you would do.


  • Be willing to stay engaged for a long time. Your friend or family member will need your support and presence in the weeks and months to come after most others will have withdrawn.


  • Be specific in your willingness to help. Offer assistance with chores such as childcare or meals. For example, suggest, “I’ll bring dinner on Thursday; how many people will be there?”


  • Check on your friend or relative as time passes and months go by. Periodic check-ins can be helpful throughout the first two years after the death. Stay in touch by writing a note, calling, stopping by to visit, or perhaps bringing flowers.


  • Be sensitive to holidays and special days. For someone grieving a death, certain days may be more difficult and can magnify the sense of loss. Anniversaries and birthdays can be especially hard. Some people find it helpful to be with family and friends, others may wish to avoid traditions and try something different. Extend an invitation to someone who might otherwise spend time alone during a holiday or special day, and recognize they may or may not accept your offer.


  • Identify friends who might be willing to help with specific tasks on a regular basis. Performing tasks such as picking up the kids from school or refilling prescriptions can be a big help.


(bereavement wording provided by Caring Connections, a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization,)

Guidelines For Letter Writing to Recipient from Donor Family Member

 

The decision to write to a transplant recipient is a very personal one.


As a family member of a donor, you may or may not decide to write a note to the transplant recipients. It is your personal choice. If you decide to write, here are some suggestions:


  • Write about information that you feel comfortable sharing about you, your loved one who donated, and other family members. This may include occupation, hobbies or interests, perhaps special things your loved one liked to do or information about your family.


  • You may include first names of yourself, your loved one, and other family members, and the state in which you reside.

 

  • Sign only your first name.


  • Keep identities anonymous and confidential. Avoid including any last names, street addresses, city names, phone numbers, or names of hospitals or physicians. On occasion, donor families and transplant recipients may wish to reveal identities to each other. Both must agree to this before any personal information will be released by the eye bank.


 After you have completed your letter or card, place it in an unsealed envelope.


  • Include a separate sheet of paper with your full name, and name and date of death of your loved one.


  • Mail both your letter or card and the separate note to:


                Attn: Donor Family Correspondence
               San Antonio Eye Bank
               9150 Huebner Road, Suite 105
               San Antonio, Texas 78240

 

  • All letters are reviewed to ensure confidentiality before the letter is forwarded to the recipient via the transplanting surgeon. Some recipients may send a letter or card in response to your letter. Other recipients may choose not to write to you at this time — this is their personal decision. Many transplant recipients have said they feel overwhelmed with emotion and have difficulty expressing their gratitude in writing.

    If you have any questions or concerns about this information, please contact the San Antonio Eye Bank.

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Donor Stories

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We are proud to share photos and biographies of donors heroes and their living legacies as disclosed by family members.


Corporal Jose Luis “Speedy” : Honored and Remembered

Corporal Jose Luis "Speedy" Espericueta Jr. made the ultimate sacrifice while performing his duty to serve and protect. He died a hero and his family supported his decision as a registered donor, to continue helping after death, as a cornea and tissue donor. 


His most notable professional accomplishments included rescuing an elderly man from a burning house, saving two young children who were locked in a car, apprehending multiple armed suspects in a home invasion incident, appearing in A&E's Live PD  and National Geographic's Border Wars. 


His family and friends will remember him for having a sarcastic sense of humor, being an avid BBQer who greatly enjoyed a cold Miller Lite beer, a loyal diehard Dallas Cowboys fan, and for his great love for his family.

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Madison and Tanner: Honored and Remembered


Madison's wit and her dry sense of humor could make anyone laugh.

She was conscientious, kind and enjoyed surprising others with thoughtful deeds. She was a senior at Jourdanton High School and had been accepted into Sam Houston University where she wanted to study medicine. Madison exemplified her belief of serving others by choosing to register to become a donor when she received her driver's license. 


Tanner was a tender-hearted soul who loved the great outdoors. Whether fishing for catfish on the Brazos River, white bass on the Trinity River, or hunting with family and friends, he was never happier than when he was outdoors. Tanner was an honor roll student and a member of the Kindness and Compassion Club at Jourdanton Elementary School. He was known for his politeness and befriending those who were without friends. His selflessness continued in his death by being a cornea donor.


#spreadkindnessforMandT is a movement to promote acts of kindness in honor of Madison and Tanner, siblings that died from injuries sustained in a  car accident. The family asks that if you witness or perform an act of kindness,  post a photo or remarks of the act on social media with the hashtag #spreadkindnessforMandT