Gift of sight recipient creates Thanksgiving card

Staten Island resident and cornea transplant recipient, Elizabeth Duker, is the artist and poet behind The Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration’s captivating 2010 Thanksgiving card.

Elizabeth cannot pinpoint an incident during her childhood when some trauma to her eye may have taken place but for close to a decade, the 17-year-old suffered from severely blurred eyesight resulting from corneal scarring.

Originally from Ghana in Africa, Elizabeth immigrated to the United States five years ago with her family. During visits to her eye doctor the scarring was discovered and a cornea transplant was recommended to restore her eyesight.

In October 2008 Elizabeth underwent a successful corneal transplant procedure performed by ophthalmologist and corneal transplant surgeon, Madhavi Kurli, M.D., at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary with donor tissue provided by The Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration.

Still in awe of her newfound eyesight, Elizabeth jumped at the chance to be an Eye-Bank Young Ambassador where young cornea transplant recipients are given an opportunity to creatively express their thanks for receiving the gift of sight. Elizabeth created the artwork and a thoughtful poem for this year’s Thanksgiving card and as an aspiring chef, also included a simple recipe for the holidays, “Sparkling Blueberries!”

Elizabeth is currently a senior at New Dorp High School in Staten Island, N.Y. She has her sights set on attending culinary school and in the spring of 2011, hopes to compete in the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), a culinary scholarship competition open to high school students who wish to pursue a gastronomic career. Thanks to her eye donor’s gift of sight and her dedication to excellence, Elizabeth’s future looks very bright.

This Thanksgiving, The Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration encourages all New Yorkers to say “Yes” to donation and enroll in the New York State Donate Life Registry. To sign-up, visit www.eyedonation.org and click on the Donate Life logo.

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