cornea family 248 88.
(photo credit: Western Galilee Hospital)
Nagib Abu Hadaya from the Druse village of Peki'in in the Upper Galilee now calls Esther Rosner of Acre "mother," while Esther recognizes the IDF veteran and father of two as her own son. Their families have become close after Esther agreed to donate her deceased husband's cornea to the 28-year-old man, who suffered from keratoconus and has waited for corneas for four years.
"I have one child, and now I have a son," said Rosner, whose husband, Isaac, died recently and donated his body to science. When Eva Steiner, the transplant coordinator at Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya asked a month ago if she would allow his corneas to be removed and transplanted, she agreed immediately.
Abu Hadaya developed the disease when he was still in the regular army. Keratoconus is a degenerative eye disease in which structural changes within the cornea cause it to thin to a more conical shape than its normal gradual curve. It can distort vision, causing the victim to see multiple images, be sensitive to light and see streaks. Beginning in adolescence with a prevalence of one per 1,000, the disease causes the worst effects by the time the patient reaches his 20s and 30s.
"It was the happiest day in my life," says Abu Hadaya, who asked immediately after his double cornea surgery to meet Esther to thank her. The meeting was postponed a while because she was hospitalized, but as she recovered, he came to the hospital to see her, travelling by bus from Peki'in to Nahariya. "He took care of me as if he were my son," Rosner said.
"I agreed to publicity not to get thanks, but so the story will encourage other people to agree to organ donation," said Rosner. "I am happy that something good came of it, and that a young man who has a wife and children - whose whole life is ahead of him - has a new life."