As director of the EyeSight Foundation of Alabama, Torrey DeKeyser knows that vision is precious. She's watched researchers search for cures for vision loss, seen the impact of community vision screenings and learned how educational programs can serve the visually impaired.
But she also understands the gift of sight firsthand.
"I'm blind in one eye," she explains. "My optic nerve is damaged, my retina is scarred and there's not normal blood flow to the back of my eye. My parents speculate that it may have been a result of me looking at a solar eclipse, but experts haven't been able to pinpoint the cause."
Not only that—she's undergone three eye surgeries for three different reasons, all at UAB Callahan Eye Hospital. And recently Torrey's husband, Armand DeKeyser, was diagnosed with glaucoma and is receiving treatment for what could be symptoms of early age-related macular degeneration.
"Our lives have become pretty tightly knit with ophthalmology at UAB," Torrey says. Which is why, to support future eye care and vision research, the couple decided to name UAB the beneficiary of their IRA to support the Department of Ophthalmology in the UAB School of Medicine.
"I have had a more up-close-and-personal experience with UAB ophthalmology than the average person," Torrey explains. "Because of that, it has given me a great deal of motivation to provide some support for when I'm gone, so future generations can have access to the same quality of care I have enjoyed."
The EyeSight Foundation of Alabama is housed within Callahan Eye Hospital, which allowed Torrey to develop an even closer relationship with UAB during the time she's served as director. She says she has been struck by the passion of the researchers.
"Hearing the stories UAB researchers tell is overwhelming," she says. "They are driven to find new cures and new treatments, and because of my own situation—I can close one eye and experience total blindness—it makes me appreciate the value of my sight and how devastating it is for people who lose significant portions or all of their sight."
Torrey also says that the patient care she received before and after her surgeries was excellent.
"From pre-op to post-op, I had such amazing teams of people—efficient, warm and kind. You can get the best surgical care here as compared to anywhere else in the country," she says.
The couple's decision to designate UAB as a beneficiary to their IRA was an easy one to make, Torrey says. "We can use the assets for other things now and still have an impact later."
She hopes that through their gift, they can make an impact for future eye care patients—and possibly help give sight to someone in the future.
"If there's anything our small contribution can do to help people avoid vision loss or find treatment to restore vision, then that would be a wonderful legacy."
What's Your Vision for the Future?
Like the DeKeysers, you can support causes and programs at UAB that are important to you through an estate gift. To learn more, contact the Office of Planned Giving at firstname.lastname@example.org or (205) 996-7533.
QUESTIONS? I CAN HELP.
Kimberley S. Coppock, J.D.
Sr. Director of Development
Office of Planned Giving
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