When he was a teen, Jason Murphy, of Spring Hill, was diagnosed with keratoconus, an eye disease. For some, keratoconus can be corrected but in Murphy’s case, it required a transplant.
Murphy wants to share his story of finding a donor and receiving a transplant, which has altered his life significantly, to encourage people to be organ and tissue donors.
Murphy was first diagnosed as a teen with keratoconus. It’s a condition where the front of the eye bulges outward, causing blurred vision. For some patients, it can be corrected with glasses and for others, it takes another course of treatment.
“I was first diagnosed in about 2001, I was 19 at the time. The doctor explained that it was a progressive disease, that they did not fully understand it and how the disease progresses. He told me I would need regular eye exams and that he hoped it didn’t progress fast for me.”
But as his disease progressed, it became necessary to consider a transplant.
“When I found out I needed a transplant I was completely overwhelmed. I had not expected anything like that, and honestly, I had started to make peace with the fact that I would lose my vision and that there wasn’t anything that could be done about it. I found out I qualified for the transplant three days before I graduated with my teaching degree and was overwhelmed with emotions.”
Murphy underwent a successful transplant in 2013.
Today, Murphy is a teacher assistant with Williamson County Schools and can see clearly.
“After my transplant, my life is drastically different. I can see my daughters grow, I can see clearly the smile on their faces. I can see my son grow into a caring young man. I have seen my family expand with the addition of a grand-daughter. My wife and I will soon celebrate 9 years of marriage and I get to see this as well as the world clearly every day. All of his is because of the gift I received that allows me to have 20/25, it is a gift that I cannot put into words how thankful I am for it,” said Murphy.
Here are some statistics for Tennessee and those waiting for organ donations.
- Nearly 3,000 people are waiting for an organ transplant in Tennessee.
- As of March 2017, there are 2,120,000 on the Donate Life Tennessee organ and tissue donor registry, representing 38% of eligible Tennesseans, despite the fact that nationally 95% say they support organ and tissue donation.
- In 2016, 334 Tennesseans gave the gift of life, saving 908 lives.
Registering as an Organ and Tissue Donor in Tennessee is a simple and easy process.
There are two ways to register as an organ and tissue donor in Tennessee:
- At the Tennessee Department of Safety – both in person and on line
Tennesseans can register to be an organ and tissue donor when applying for, renewing or updating a state driver’s license or ID. After saying “yes” to donation at the Department of Safety, individuals can specify their gift by going to DonateLifeTN.org.
- Online: DonateLifeTN.org
Tennesseans can visit www.donatelifetn.org to register as an organ and or tissue donor. They may also specify which organs and tissues they would like to donate.
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