Nancy's Story | Josephine's Story | Jim's Story | Sue's Story | Wendy's Story | Luke's Story
Dear Mr. Trawnik,
Life is often unpredictable and always holds surprises, some good and others which are not. Life's timing also plays an important role in the circumstances and completely changes the outcome of situations. What phenomenal good fortune that Ms. Andries happened to be seated next to you at a conference this summer. Your conversation over lunch evolved into a miracle for one of our students.
Your offer to assist one of our students in obtaining a new prosthetic eye has become a reality. The young man is back in school with a beautifully fitted eye and an immediate increase in his self esteem. He no longer hides his face from others. His smile comes easily, with his happy expression open for all to see. He and his family were so touched with this most unexpected and unusual act of kindness.
There is too much focus on what is wrong with our health care system and how they are failing to serve our communities. There is a perceived idea that physicians have chosen their profession for financial gain. Thank you for setting the example that proves those notions inaccurate. This gift was given from the heart, with no strings attached, and though you did it with no thought of recognition. This one act will have a ripple effect and will spread much farther than you can imagine. You have gained the respect and admiration of the students and staff of the Garland ISD.
Thanksgiving seems to be a very appropriate time to express my gratitude for your gift to one of our students. This act of kindness will always be remembered.
With Respect and Admiration,
Nancy Zucker RN
Health Services/Garland ISD
Dear Mr. Trawnik,
I was so excited when I got my prostheses. Before I met you, I thought you were one of those doctors that just asked about my eye problem and used big words that I would not understand. I found out that you really cared about who I was and how I felt about the prosthetics.
After I got used to wearing the prosthetics and wore them all the time, I had more confidence to look at people in the face. My vision teacher even said that I stand straighter. My friends in school wondered if I could actually see again because the prostheses look so real. I feel so beautiful now thanks to you. I hope to "see" you again this summer.
Your favorite Hazel Eye patient,
My uncle Joe died quietly and unexpectedly Saturday morning, July 15. My wife and I think that the abrupt move to another nursing facility was more change than he could deal with.
You made a great difference in the quality of his life. He was so pleased with his prosthesis. In addition, you always treated him with exceptional courtesy and respect. We think his trips to your office were the most dignifying experiences of his last two years. We thank you for that.
You have a remarkable talent and manner in your transactions with your patients. It has been a privilege for us to meet you.
I thought I'd share a conversation I had today with my ophthalmologist. I had a problem last week with a floater
and was experiencing flashes of light. Of course, my Optometrist referred me right on to the Ophthalmologist in town,
whom I'd seen before in emergency situations but not regularly. He examined me and wanted me back today to make sure
I made it past the retinal tear concerns. After he saw me today (
and said everything was fine, thank God), he told
me that I had a greater than 50% chance that this would occur in my left eye. I said, "that would be just great with
me!" He was shocked questioned why. I told me because the left eye is a prosthesis and that if I saw flashes of
light in it, he'd be one of the first to hear about it -- right after I called the guy who made it!" :) :) He laughed
and admitted it was a darn good match! He wanted to know who'd made it, so of course, I told him I had your card if
he ever needed one great ocularist!!!!! Thought you'd find the humor in it with me...and consider it a great compliment,
I hope! Take care and bless you for all the good you do for us one-eyed Jacks!
Wendy's Story: A little note to say THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!
I came to your office when I first came to the US from England. I was 16 years old. You made me a wonderful Prosthetic Shell to fit over my damaged eye. I am now back in London. Over the years my hospital here has tried to make me a similar eye but I always resort back to the one you made me. I am so grateful that we met you (my mother and I) and just wanted to say "Thank You" so much for all that you have done for me. I guess I will have to come back to Dallas when this prosthesis needs to be replaced.
Luke is a wonderful and active child that was born with congenital microphthalmia. His parents Richard and Deanna recently received an award from Early Childhood Intervention for their volunteer work. Here is an excerpt from their acceptance speech.
There is an expression you may have heard: "I'd like to help you out if you can only tell me how you got in." I'm not very good at public speaking, so if
it gets bad or goes sideways, if you'll quietly point to that door I'll graciously take the hint.
Our journey to this award began in the fall of 1998. It will be remembered as one of the darker chapters of our family's history. In most all life
categories we had bad things happening. Then in early December and unknown to us, like a great ship passing silently through dark waters, we would learn
in January that Luke was conceived. Don't tell him but at the time we called him Riley Kay. And even though Luke was only about this big, he had taken
on his first mission and lifted the dark clouds from our home. We were ecstatic. One month later at about the stage of development of your brain stem
and eyes Deana was involved in a car crash. Deana was upset but otherwise uninjured. We had limited x-rays and a sonogram performed and left the hospital
reassured. Because of the higher risk our age represented we had an amniocentesis and level II sonogram, and Luke officially replaced Riley at the number
one position on the depth chart. We were also assured every thing was fine with our pregnancy. Months passed with Deana swimming 2 miles a day every day.
The amnio further dispelled any worries of our having a fish.
On the day Luke was born, Deana and I painted yet another room and she swam her customary laps. She felt and announced her first contractions during dinner,
prompting me to encourage her to "eat up, you don't know when you'll eat again." Luke was born without much wait or fuss and came in at 8 lbs and 22 inches
at 1 a.m., the morning of September 7, 1999. We were elated and Deana was relieved. Like parenthood itself, there is nothing in the world, except maybe faith,
that can prepare you for what happened next. We learned that our precious and beautiful hours-old baby was born with a birth defect. That day a pediatric
ophthalmologist who diagnosed Luke as having microphthalmia in his left eye and a coloboma in his right examined Luke. The extent to which he would have vision
or that it would be affected wouldn't be known for months or even measured effectively for more than a year. Our baby might be blind. We were devastated.
Suddenly you are thrust into a world of fear of the unknown. I don't know how this type of news is delivered to other parents, but our doctors told us with all
the subtly of a sledgehammer. Which could be a good thing because it gave us someone to be mad at. Before we left the recovery room and as soon as I could spell
microphthalmia we were online with my laptop learning more. I realized then that Luke, regardless of the degree of his impairment and beginning right there with his
parents, would teach others how to see more in their lives. Nine months after his first mission and at only one-day-old Luke had a job.
We settled into our new life with newborn, which is to say you hardly settle at all. In the first month I guess all babies are the same, they cry, eat,
poop and sleep. When Luke was about 5 weeks old he had his first Pediatric Ophthalmologist appointment and it was then the we learned of Dallas based
Ocularist extraordinaire Randy Trawnik. Randy called our house even before we could get home from the Ophthalmologist. Randy wanted to see Luke right
away and acted as though Luke's condition were no more serious than a cat being born with a short tail. Of far more significant value than his immensely
valuable medical effort Randy gave us hope. I cannot tell you how much that meant. A week later we sat in his waiting room, Deana cried quietly.
Running around the room and playing like every three-year-old boy should, was a kid with only one eye. One look at us and it was obvious to this kids
mom that we were clueless and apprehensive. She used some analogy like the short tail cat to explain that everything would be just fine, after all look
at her son. It was this woman who told us about a wonderful program for which Luke would qualify, ECI.
Luke applied for and was accepted at ECI University and began classes at the tender age of 3 months. In the time since I believe Deana and I have grown
as much as Luke and that's saying a lot! The foundation of that growth has been our relationship with the ECI family. There are many things that you
bring to your families but my favorite isn't mentioned in any ECI literature. Belief is one of the great fruits of our relationship. Belief for the
parents that things will be OK and belief to your babies that they can do it! And even if that is just a temporary escape it is no less important. And
you don't have a form to measure it!
I Love A Parade was born of our appreciation for all that you do. We wanted to give something back. The idea was to first have fun, food and
fellowship. Next we wanted to raise awareness of ECI programs. And if in the process we raised money then that was OK. Seeing the kids in their floats
has been an added bonus. In our first 2 years we've had a lot of fun, eaten about 400 hot dogs and met other families and ECI staff. Oh yea, we raised
$14,000. toward building an office in Frisco. And that's just the start. We will continue to build on relationships and we will build that office.
When Deana went to work yesterday she put Luke in bed with me. When he awoke he asked "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I answered him with a
laugh but now would tell him that I'd like to be rich. And because of him and all of our relationships we are rich.