Transplants give young recipient the chance to see a brighter future

Smiles beyond adversity

For Avery Devereux, every day is a fight to keep her vision. Each morning begins with her mom, Ann, placing two medicated drops into her left eye and applying an ointment along the inside of her lower eyelid. They repeat the process before bed, too, while Avery playfully babbles the names of the drugs as they go.

Born with a rare congenital eye condition called Peter’s Anomaly, Avery underwent her first cornea transplant before she was two months old. Much of her life has taken place in hospitals, her days structured around a brave attempt to see, even if it’s no more than three feet around her.

She’s undergone 26 eye surgeries, nine cornea transplants and recently lost sight in her right eye because of a retinal detachment. No single operation has solved Avery’s vision problems, but she would have been blind if not for her transplants.

“Her best experiences in life have been because of having sight,” Ann said. “Without Eversight in Michigan and the generosity of many donors, Avery would have never been able to see.”

Preserving Avery’s sight is something Ann and her husband have thought about every day since her diagnosis. Just hours after Avery was born, doctors entered Ann’s hospital room with news no parent expects to hear. Avery had opaque corneas, they said, and needed surgery.

“It was out of left field—total shock,” Ann said. “I think sight is one of the most precious senses. It’s everything. It’s the way that you learn about the world. We were heartbroken.”

But Avery is resilient. Ann recalls turning to look at her daughter after surgery or during recovery and expecting to see a miserable, tired kid, but she always bounces back. Despite her challenges, Avery is a happy kindergartner who loves to sing, play on her iPad and swing at the park.

Avery never quits. Her parents never quit. And neither does Eversight. We’re fighting alongside Avery and thousands of others living with blinding eye diseases to find new cures and treatments. We need your support to fund research that may one day lead to a cure and promise a future full of sight for people in need.

“You can never count on the fact that everything will turn around for Avery, or even just improve a little bit because of research and medical advances,” Ann said. “But we’re always hanging on to that hope.”