Hudson Lions transport corneasTwo corneas donated in Wisconsin and processed for transplantation in Madison were delivered Dec. 30 to the Northwest cargo area at the Twin Cities airport by local Lions Club members Dan Gaeu, Sally Gaeu and Gordy Knudson.
Members of the Hudson Lions eye transport relay team did their first lap Dec. 30.
Two corneas donated in Wisconsin and processed for transplantation in Madison were delivered to the Northwest cargo area at the Twin Cities airport by local Lions Club members Dan Gaeu, Sally Gaeu and Gordy Knudson. The corneas were enroute to Korea for transplantation.
Twelve members of the Hudson club are available on an on-call basis in a relay to transport corneas to and from the Lions Eye Bank of Wisconsin in Madison.
Relay teams have been delivering eye tissues from various hospitals throughout the state to the Lions Eye Bank in Madison for many years. After the useable tissue is removed, it is placed in a preservation solution at refrigeration temperatures for delivery to the Eye Bank, where it is prepared for transplantation. The teams then transport the transplantable tissues to hospitals to help sight-impaired individuals.
Wisconsin Lions currently have 29 transport groups statewide, consisting of 235 club teams. Eye tissue taken at the St. Croix Falls Hospital is usually handled by four or five teams in the relay to Madison.
Most eye tissues are used for transplants in the state of Wisconsin. When more are available than needed, they are shipped to neighboring states. When additional are available, they are shipped to East and West Coast states, and overseas. Since the quickest connections for these farther shipments are available through the Twin Cities airport, a west I-94 transport group was formed to carry the last leg of the relay.
The West I-94 group consists of seven teams from eight Lions Clubs: Hudson, Roberts, Hammond, Woodville, Spring Valley, Ellsworth, Prescott and River Falls. Teams are on call once every six months. These trips can be scheduled any time of the day and week.
When a team dispatcher receives a call from the Eye Bank that tissue is being sent, the dispatcher finds a transporter who can make the trip from the Baldwin relay point to one of two cargo areas at the airport.
The West I-94 group will likely also soon become part of the relay for tissue from St. Croix Falls to Madison. Members would pick up a package at Baldwin and drop it off at either Menomonie or Eau Claire for another team to run the next leg to Tomah. Any corneas recovered from other area hospitals could also be transported by this team.
The Lions Eye Bank is a result of Lions’ overall efforts to help citizens, especially in the area of sight. It also is part of Wisconsin Lions mission statement: “We Serve by Reaching, Touching and Improving Lives.”