Exceptional Care That Transforms.

The Gift of Sight – Wanda’s Story  

Across the nation, thousands of individuals wait for the gift of life, hoping for a chance to see, to breathe, to live without the burden of illness. In particular, eyes are a precious commodity, with many recipients waiting for the chance to experience the world with a new view. Shantel, Memorial’s Clinical Value Analyst as well as a Registered Nurse, recently experienced how impactful this type of donation can be.

Wanda’s Legacy


Shantel’s journey of organ donation was sparked by the selfless act of her beloved mother, Wanda.

Wanda’s story is one of resilience and generosity. As Shantel recounts, “My mom was a patient in Louisiana. She became septic, so that’s why she wasn’t able to donate anything other than her eyes.” Despite facing health challenges, Wanda had previously registered as a full-body donor.

Shantel vividly recalls the pivotal moment when the possibility of donation happened. “I actually didn’t think that we were going to be able to donate anything, but when I was coming home that night after she passed, Southern Eye Bank called and asked if we would be willing to donate her eyes because they had some recipients that were in need.”

It was over a month later when Shantel received the confirmation—a letter stating that her mother’s eyes had been donated as a gift to someone who was visually impaired. In that simple act, a world of possibilities expanded for another individual, a testament to the transformative power of organ donation. Part of the letter reads, “Because of your generosity, others can now see and enjoy the world. We hope that you and your family will find comfort in knowing that your mother will live on in other people as well as the hearts of those who loved her the most.”

A Family Decision

Shantel and Wanda

As a nurse and a champion of healthcare quality, Shantel understands the significance of this gift. “I am a registered organ donor and so are my kids,” she shares. “It’s important as a family to help in any way that we can.”

Shantel continues, “I worked in our operating room for years and I understood what organ donation meant. I helped her fill out the paperwork and make the decisions about what she wanted to do and how she could give back.”

Becoming an organ donor is a simple yet profound act. With just a few clicks or a signature on a donor card, anyone can provide hope and healing. In Mississippi, registration takes place through the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency, and those interested can sign up here. The process of organ harvesting is conducted with the utmost care and respect, guided by medical professionals dedicated to honoring the wishes of donors and their families.

In Shantel’s words, organ donation is “a small piece of giving back.” For those touched by the gift of sight, the world is forever changed, illuminated by the selflessness of donors like Wanda. When considering how her mom would feel knowing that she helped someone see the world, Shantel shares, “I think she would be very, very happy and proud that she has given someone the gift of sight.”

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