At work, Jill Dillman-Stull is seen as a hero. Jill’s hero is a complete stranger.
Ten years ago, the flight nurse for Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center had an eye infection, which nearly cost her her vision in her right eye.
“When I went to remove my contact lens, it was seared to my contact lens. When I went to remove it, I tore off half of my eye, basically,” said Dillman-Stull.
Thanks to that stranger’s kindness, Dillman-Stull got a cornea transplant, which saved her sight.
“You never know when you’ll need to rely on the generosity of other people for organ donation,” she said.
April is National Donate Life Month, which raises awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation. Around 115,000 people across the U.S. are waiting for an organ donor. More than 20 people died each day, still waiting.
The Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) helps connect organ and tissue donors and recipients in western Pennsylvania.
“It’s a wonderful, wonderful opportunity to make sure the last thing you do on earth is something kind for somebody else,” said Katelynn Metz, the community outreach coordinator for CORE.
Dillman-Stull wants everyone to see what she does: that donating tissue or organs can make a huge difference.
“People see me as a flight nurse.They see me taking care of them. They don’t know that someone basically had to die to give me part of their eye so I can continue to take care of them. It completes the circle,” Dillman-Stull said. “I just want us all to do our part. I don’t want anyone to have to wait for the gift of life or vision or tissue because there’s no reason to wait.”
One donor can save eight lives, give two people sight or help up to 75 people by donating tissue.
You can be a donor, no matter your age or even if you have health issues. Only a few medical conditions restrict you from being a donor, such as active cancer or a systemic infection.