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Chicago woman receives gift of sight from deceased father: ‘He’s dancing in heaven’

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A Chicago man gave the gift of sight to his daughter following his death last year. 

When Crystal Jones was born, her eyes weren’t fully formed, resulting in her going blind over time, Fox 32 Chicago reported. At some point, she looked into stem cell transplant to hopefully improve her vision, the report said. 

“My father had diabetes, and he had recently had cataract surgery, because of those conditions we didn’t even consider him as a transplant donor,” said Jones. “He always said it was him that discovered that I was visually impaired because he ended up taking me to the hospital when I was like six months old to find out what was going on, so he was very proud of that fact.”

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Crystal Jones pictured with her father. Jones received her father’s stem cells to help her see for the first time in years.  (Fox 32 Chicago)

Jones’ father faced going blind himself before he died. Despite his condition, he was a perfect match for a transplant. Days after he died, Jones received his stem cells in both of her eyes. 

“It was kind of an amazing thing that after he passed he was able to bless me with sight. So it’s bittersweet,” said Jones. “I love him and I appreciate him and I know he’s dancing in heaven so excited that he was able to donate his stem cells to me.” 

The procedure was overseen by Eversight, a global nonprofit eye bank network founded in Chicago in 1947. 

“We’ve had many cases where we’ve had someone who’s actually blind but the cornea, the surface of the eye is still fine, so they’re able to provide someone else the gift of sight,” said Eversight CEO and President Diane Hollingsworth. “Every donor can provide the gift of sight to two additional people.”

Crystal Jones at her father's funeral

Crystal Jones at her father’s funeral.  (Fox 32 Chicago)

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Eversight believes Jones is the first recipient to ever receive cells from a deceased parent. As a result of the procedure, Jones said she’s able to read and see her family members clearly. 

“I’m just so blessed. It’s a miracle and I’m just so grateful,” Jones said.  

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