“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.”
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