LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Meet Katie and Justin Thornton. A husband and wife, whose will to live independently despite being blind, drew them to each other.
Justin has been blind all 31 years of his life, but Katie, who is now 35, lost her eyesight at the age of 22.
“I was born with a type of eye cancer called bilateral retinoblastoma,” Katie said. “Due to the radiation, it led to me forming cataracts on my eyes. I wasn’t the best diabetic at the time and it ended up causing me to get a severe eye infection.”
Last summer, Katie’s diabetes progressed to point where she needed dialysis to stay alive.
“When she got that phone call, she stopped me and said hey Justin, I think I’m gonna have to do dialysis,” Justin said.
Katie and her husband chose to take this fight on together at home.
“I came back with hey Katie, we’re just gonna have to try this,” Justin said. “Here’s what I found out and we’re just gonna take it one day at a time and God’s gonna guide us through it.”
Soon, the two were off to the races in search of a new kidney. Katie’s doctor recommended that she do dialysis treatment from home becoming the first blind person to be trained by Fresenius Kidney Care of Little Rock.
“I didn’t really know what to expect or how we would best train her,” Cierra Little, Registered Nurse at Fresenius Kidney Care said. “It took about two weeks, but they were able to do it and not make any connection errors. They’ve not had any infections. I mean honestly, they’ve been some of my best patients.”
Last month, the two almost had a match but it didn’t work out. The two say they have one message for those who are fighting their own silent battle.
“Keep fighting and don’t give up,” Katie stated.
Katie and Justin said that if they are able to obtain a kidney, it will likely change the progression of Katie’s diabetes. They believe they will soon find a match.
If you would like to become an organ donor, visit the Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency.