Tissue donor helps UMich researchers fight diabetic eye disease

M LIVE | Martin Slagter
Melanie Maxwell | melaniemaxwell@mlive.com
Family who donated eye tissue meets UM researcher
Kellogg Eye Center Research Associate Angela Myers tears up as she hugs Courtney Anegon in the lab on Thursday, August 10, 2017. "It's huge to be able to see the family and let them know it's worthwhile," she said. Melanie Maxwell | The Ann Arbor News 

ANN ARBOR, MI - When Coleen Anegon's husband, Tim, received a liver donation as a patient at University Hospital in 2014, she immediately felt indebted to the donor who gave him the gift of life.

She returned the favor when Tim passed away due to complications following the transplant, providing her husband's body as an organ and tissue donor.

Tim's daughter, Courtney, admitted she was disappointed when she heard her father's eye tissue would be used by researchers working to cure eye diseases instead of going to a specific person. That was until she discovered that tissue could help millions suffering from diabetic eye disease.

"It just seemed so insignificant compared to receiving a whole organ," said Courtney Anegon, who lives in Superior Township. "We do realize from learning from you guys today, to impact someone's quality of life is huge, in ways that we can't even begin to understand."

On Thursday, Aug. 10, the Anegons met with Dr. Patrice Fort, whose laboratory at the University of Michigan's Kellogg Eye Center researches the cellular changes that can lead to diabetic eye disease, to better understand how Tim's donation will have an impact on its recipients. Continue reading

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