Helping Others

Exposures: I Care: Chaplain, donor’s family meet

Travis Murphy holds a photo of his father, John Murphy, an avid fisherman and tissue donor who died in 2013. The family was out visiting from Washington to meet the recipient of one of John’s corneas, Rev. Art Lillicropp who wanted to thank them for giving him back his sight. They were brought together by the Seattle-based eye bank, SightLife, after they exchanged letters in a donor and recipient relations program, Wednesday, October 29, 2014.
Travis Murphy holds a photo of his father, John Murphy, an avid fisherman and tissue donor who died in 2013. The family was out visiting from Washington to meet the recipient of one of John’s corneas, Rev. Art Lillicropp who wanted to thank them for giving him back his sight. They were brought together by the Seattle-based eye bank, SightLife, after they exchanged letters in a donor and recipient relations program, Wednesday, October 29, 2014. The Sacramento Bee

“Have you got a picture of John?” asks Rev. Art Lillicropp, a Kaiser Permanente chaplain, sitting with Kathy Murphy, the widow of Lillicropp’s cornea donor.

The two met Wednesday for the first time at a local hotel. Murphy and her adult son, Travis Murphy, arrived from Washington state to meet Lillicropp after exchanging letters through a donor program of SightLife, the Seattle-based eye bank that facilitated the meeting.

Described as an avid fisherman and hunter who’d give you the shirt off his back, John Murphy died on November 8, 2013, from surgery complications while battling cancer.

Two days later, Lillicropp underwent corneal transplant surgery with ocular tissue donated by John Murphy. Having gone blind from an eye disease, Lillicropp received corneal transplants years ago that restored his sight, but recently the disease returned and he required more surgeries.

With thankful hugs, the manager of Spiritual Care Services at Kaiser South Sacramento told Kathy Murphy and her son how he’ll never forget the man who gave him back his sight. “It is beyond words,” said Lillicropp. “I am so proud to know that part of John lives on.”

To suggest a community volunteer for the I Care column, contact Lezlie Sterling at lsterling@sacbee.com

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