Single mom to get critical eye surgery

A mother of two from Mount Pearl will soon get the surgery she needs to save her eyesight.
Several local benefactors have raised enough money for Nettoya Hogan's eye surgery. (CBC)

A mother of two from Mount Pearl will soon get the surgery she needs to save her eyesight.

Nettoya Hogan, 27, has keratoconus, a disease which has been causing her corneas to grow into cone shapes which, in turn, has been making her field of vision grow increasingly narrow.

Without treatment, Hogan will eventually lose her sight.

The Newfoundland and Labrador government has said it would pay for transplant surgery at a cost of about $10,000, but not the cheaper procedure known as cornea cross-linking. That would cost $5,000 in a private clinic, but Hogan said she can't afford it.

Story attracts attention

After CBC News told Hogan's story last week, benefactors began reaching out to her.

"The doctor Brian Boxer from Los Angeles, California had emailed me and said that they would do the procedure for free," said Hogan. "And he is the one that came up with the (cornea) cross-linking."

Dr. Brian Boxer Wachler has been known as an expert in treating keratoconus, and has been a pioneer in the cornea cross-linking procedure Hogan needs to save her vision. 

"My story got out of Newfoundland, out of Canada, and it was like, wow," recounted Hogan.

"I could not take it all in at once. He's after doing Dr. Phil's eyes, a member of the Black Eyed Peas, there's so many people he's after doing and for him to contact me ... I was overjoyed and I couldn't believe it."

Touched by generosity

However, for Boxer Wachler to do the procedure, Hogan would have to pay her own way to Los Angeles. But Hogan, who supports her family on social assistance, says that's something she can't afford. 

Since her story became public, an account in her name has received several donations. And a family in St. John's has agreed to make up the difference for the $5,000 she needs to have the procedure done locally.

"I can't believe it. I'm not going to go blind. Thank you so much," said a tearful Hogan. "From the bottom of my heart, thank you."

Hogan said she has been touched by the generosity and she hopes to have her surgery soon.