Jeff Mitchell and his wife were devastated when the doctor told them something was wrong with their newborn daughter just moments after they first held her in their arms. “At first they thought she had cataracts,” Jeff recalls. “Her eyes were really blue and cloudy. They just didn’t look right.” The next day, an eye specialist diagnosed her with glaucoma.
The day after the diagnosis, Jeff and his wife began learning everything they could about the disease, which brought them to Glaucoma Research Foundation’s website.
It was a frightening time for the couple. When Jeff’s daughter was only five days old, doctors put her under anesthesia and performed surgery to relieve pressure. No one was sure if she could see or if she would ever have normal vision.
Jeff’s daughter has since undergone eight laser surgeries, had a tube inserted in her left eye, and must have daily eye drops—and she’s only 3. One of the most exciting days for Jeff and his wife was when they first realized their daughter could see. “She was one year old when we put her in the walker and she took off running,” recalls Jeff. “It was wonderful.”
When Jeff was only 16, his grandfather passed away and left him a small recycling and refining business in Dallas, Texas. Jeff worked hard to expand Stark Recycling, which now is one of the top recycling centers in America and a growing global enterprise. Today Stark works with companies spanning seven countries and three continents, in the aerospace, e-waste, and precious metals industries. Jeff’s grandfather left him a lasting gift. Now Jeff wants to give back…for his daughter.
Jeff has generously pledged to give 30% of Stark Recycling’s profits to Glaucoma Research Foundation. And he hopes others, including his customers, will give, too.
“If we don’t give back, GRF can’t do their research and find a cure,” Jeff says. “I don’t know if it will happen now or tomorrow or along time from now—I’ll still give my dollars. I need to do this, not just for my daughter, but for everybody who deals with glaucoma around the world.”
Jeff’s daughter is 3 now, and seems to be doing well. She loves to watch videos on Jeff’s iPad and play with her toys. But she will almost surely undergo further surgeries and treatments. During her lifetime, Jeff and his wife hope for breakthroughs in new therapies and possibly even a cure.
Tom Brunner, President and CEO of Glaucoma Research Foundation, noted “Our collaborative research initiative, Catalyst for a Cure, is specifically focused on finding new biomarkers for glaucoma. This work has the potential to help Jeff’s daughter preserve her vision over her lifetime. We are grateful to Jeff and Stark Recycling for their partnership in raising funds to support this promising research.”
If you would like to make any donations please contact the following person:
Nancy M. Graydon
Executive Director of Development
Glaucoma Research Foundation
251 Post Street, Suite 600, San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone: 415-986-3162 / 800-826-6693 Fax: 415-986-3763