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Donors give Utah man the gift of sight, a new lease on life

When you think of organ donation, you probably think about a heart or liver, but this is the story of a man who received two small donations that made an enormous impact.

Fred Meaders is a coach, teacher and friend. He had a condition called keratoconus, which distorts your vision.

“The only real treatment is to wear contacts that retard the malformation that comes into the cornea and causes the cornea to become more and more cone-shaped,” he said. "By wearing the contacts you can delay the effects that slowly cause you to lose your vision."

Meaders is active. He coaches at Weber State and ran the bowling and billiard center at the rec center and oversaw classes. After his vision became impaired, he got the call two donors could give him his corneas and his sight back.

“My life has totally been changed,” Meaders said. “Before I had this, my eyesight was deteriorating so badly I got to the point I couldn’t read for more than ten to fifteen minutes. I couldn’t study in classes, and obviously now that's not an issue. I actually have three different degrees, two bachelor's degrees and a master's degree.”

After the transplant surgery, Meaders could see clearly. He said it was a revelation, a relief, and a new beginning for him.

“It’s a way you can literally continue live through other people,” he said of organ donation. “I know it’s been a miracle to me, and I would just say thank you so much, profoundly, for sharing that miracle of sight with me... Think about losing your sight and what it would mean to get it back: there are no words to express it.”

To become an organ donor all you need to do is say "yes" on your driver's license or state ID card. You can also register online, here. It's also a good idea to let your family know about your decision so your wishes can be carried out.