BOISE - Kathy Cladis says she always had poor vision, even as a young girl. Years later she had surgery to correct it, and it worked, for a while.
"As time went on then I felt the deterioration coming pretty bad," Cladis said.
As it went from pretty bad to worse, Kathy lost a lot of her independence.
"I wasn't safe to drive," Cladis said. "It just wasn't worth it to me."
She also lost some of the joys in her life.
"I really enjoyed reading, and that was just gone," Cladis said.
She managed to keep working as a bail bond agent, but had no health insurance. So, she turned to the Idaho Lions Eye Bank in Boise. The people there quickly arranged for her to receive a cornea transplant.
"I don't know what I would have done without their help," Cladis said. "I really don't."
She had a cornea transplant in 2011. In 2015, once she got health insurance, she had transplant surgery on her other eye. Two donors she wishes she could thank.
"I'm so forever grateful for that, so grateful," Cladis said. "It absolutely did give me my life back."
It gave her back the practical things, such as driving and doing paperwork.
It also gave her back the special things, such as the joy of reading and seeing the beauty around us.
"The colors of the trees came back, and it was just in awe to me because I hadn't seen it for so long," Cladis said.
Kathy still owns and operates the Cladis Bail Bonds agency, which has been in her family since the 1960s.
She says it's much easier to do her job since she received the gift of sight, and she encourages everyone to register as an organ donor.
If you would like more information on organ, eye and tissue donation and how to register as a donor, click here "Yes Idaho!"
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