Employees from the South Dakota Lions Eye and Tissue Bank are grateful for Governor Dennis Daugaard's support. He encouraged South Dakotans to consider becoming an organ donor during his State of the State address this week.
Allan Berdahl is hoping to receive two cornea transplants in the next couple of months. But this will not be his first time receiving donated tissue.
"After a car accident, I had a tibia plateau fracture of my left knee and as a result they had to rebuild the plateau of the tibia, the top of the tibia, and they used bone from the bone bank," Berdahl said.
After doctors were able to repair his leg, he was able to walk again. That gift inspired him to pay it forward by becoming a donor.
"It's amazing to see the selflessness of those individuals to say when I'm done with what I have I want to pass it on to someone else. And we find that recipients very often become donors because they understand the impact that the gift has," Berdahl said.
Those at the bank say as a state, South Dakota sees a lot of donors, but it's still important to get more people to register because there is always a need.
"As a state, we do a good job but it can grow and yes, we need more tissue and eye donations and large organ donations. And if you check the box, that starts the process," South Dakota Lions Eye and Tissue Bank Director of Marketing and Development Allison Hauck said.
The goal for the bank is to serve the needs of the people in need of improved vision and health to live fuller lives.
"By improving somebody's quality of life by improving their vision almost instantly. That is impactful and we get letters from those recipients quite often because they are just so touched," Hauck said..
"It's an amazing thing to do and it's the best ways to pay it forward," Berdahl said.