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June 2015 Issue

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SightLife Hires New Chief Global Officer to Help Accelerate our Goal to Eradicate Corneal Blindness

Claire Bonilla’s passion for making a difference in the lives of others and the opportunity to draw on the breadth of her professional experiences makes her an ideal new Chief Global Officer for SightLife. She’s spent the last eight years with one foot squarely in the corporate environment and one in humanitarian efforts, leading Microsoft’s Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Response business. Claire has 20+ years of relevant experience, managing a variety of global functions for the software giant, Microsoft, and earlier as a Fortune 500 consultant. These functions range across global supply chain management, governance, risk & compliance, emerging & developing market strategies, global facilities planning and build-out, partner certification and development, and training and development strategies, just to name a few. She’s well versed in NGO, government, inter-government collaboration and partnerships, along with private/public sector collaboration. Her global scope covers doing business in all of the major continents, and specifically relevant to SightLife, India, Singapore, China and other Asia Pacific countries. 

In Claire’s own words,

“I’m at a point in my life where I want to move my personal focus from success to significance; utilizing my time and talents to positively alter the capability and capacity of our landscape to make a difference in people’s lives. I chose SightLife as the vehicle for this, because I was thoroughly impressed with its business model, the caliber of people and partnerships, and the inspiring growth and impact opportunity we face.”

Claire has been an active supporter in raising the bar of global health, including serving as vice chair of the board of directors for the Washington Global Health Alliance. Other personal passions include promoting diversity, work life balance and coaching women to find both personal and professional success. Claire lives in Redmond, WA with her husband and three children.

 
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Gift of Sight

Neha Patil is a 19-year old engineering student finishing her first year at college in Pune, India. Her father is a software engineer, and her mother is a housewife. She arrived for her corneal transplant follow-up appointment dressed in a flowered blouse and slacks with her hair pulled back into a long ponytail. Her slender figure and intelligent features give her self-assuredness unusual for one so young. But, when Neha was 12, she developed a fever that left a white scar over her right eye and affected her studies and her confidence.

Neha’s condition was a misfortune her father insisted on keeping secret. Her teachers and classmates thought she was lying when she told them she could not answer a question. She was afraid to tell them she was unable to see the blackboard. In a community like hers, girls with eye problems are thought of as being poor quality candidates for marriage. Neha lived in fear her condition would be found out.

While everyday outdoor activities posed no problem for her, studying proved to be very problematic and upsetting. She was required to sit for hours in front of a computer that she could not see clearly. She feared she would fall behind or fail in her studies and began to obsess about the future and what it may hold.

After her transplant surgery through the H. V. Desai Eye Bank, Neha lost sleep when things did not seem to change. Shadows and vague colors were visible, but still no faces or shapes. Little by little, the world came into focus. Her confidence level began to rise and her educational aspirations were again within reach.

Then came the defining moment in Neha’s life. Before surgery, she would accompany her college friends to theatrical performances even though the people on stage were nothing more than blurry shadows racing by. After surgery, she went to a play with no expectations. Suddenly the stage came alive. The faces, bodies, and costumes were moving in harmony. She was unable to suppress her laughter when she realized she was finally able to see.

Neha had to wait a year to receive her gift of sight due to a lack of tissue, so she encourages her fellow Indians to pledge their corneas so no one has to suffer needlessly the way that she did.

Neha views the family who generously donated the cornea of a loved one as her angels. They made it possible for her to see the world with new eyes by giving the ultimate gift for which she will always be grateful. “Everything that I am now, and in the future, is because of them. I am complete because of them.”

 
MySightLife

MySightLife: An innovative way to order tissue

SightLife’s NEW online tissue request system is designed to decrease the amount of time it takes to order tissue. You can:

  • Securely and simply request ocular tissue.
  • Easily review your case history.
  • Confidently schedule your cases by taking advantage of the built-in error checking and automated confirmation.

If you are ready to start using MySightLife for your tissue requests, or if you have any questions, please contact us at tissue@sightlife.org.