Mandy Patinkin's Press Release

Mandy Patinkin released the following information regarding his corneal transplant and encouraging people to become organ donors shortly after his June 1, 1997, appearance on the Tony Awards.

A Statement from Mandy Patinkin Copyright 1997 Mandy Patinkin

In 1982 I was diagnosed with Keratoconus; from the Greek words Kerato meaning Cornea and Konos meaning Cone. The tissue of the cornea breaks down, stretches and scars, impairing vision severely.

The condition can be corrected by wearing hard contacts, thus creating a new cornea, or by having a cornea transplant. My eyes got so bad that they could no longer tolerate the hard contacts, so it was time for the transplant procedure.

On May 21, I had the transplant procedure done on my right eye. The procedure was performed at the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, by Dr. Sandra C. Belmont M.D., P.C., F.A.C.S., Director of Corneal Service, New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center. It was 100 percent successful. Thanks to the generosity of a family who donated their child's corneas to the eye bank I was the lucky recipient of one of the child's corneas. I will say a prayer for this child every day of my life for as long as I live.

The new cornea is doing great. Every day I see clearer and clearer. The bandage came off the day after the surgery, and I could instantly see better than I had for the past 15 years, without corrective contact lenses. I went back to work immediately preparing my new album for Nonesuch, "Mamaloshen," all in Yiddish. I couldn't feel better or be happier. At the end of July, I plan to shoot the season opener of "Chicago Hope," and then in August I will go river rafting with my family.

Most importantly, the eye bank has asked me to help, in making the public aware that: Yes please fill out the back of your driver's license; go to your local eye bank and fill out donor cards to go on file; put it in your will; but most importantly to TELL YOUR NEXT OF KIN -- that is all that is necessary for organ donation, and since many people don't have their paper work with them when they expire, telling your next of kin that your wish is to be an organ donor is all that is necessary.

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