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One Last, Year-End Look at the Passing Parade of People in the News : A Bright Outlook

December 26, 1985|LYNN SIMROSS

View has revisited some of the people and places it reported on in the last several months. Among them:

--Hollywood's Masquers Club, which because of declining funds sold its building and moved.

--Jimmy and Ricky Sperry, blinded in an accident 11 years ago, who received cornea transplants in August.

--Balu Natarajan, who triumphed over 167 other youngsters to win the National Spelling Bee in June.

For Jimmy and Ricky Sperry, 1985 became the best year of their young lives. It brought them back to the world of the sighted.

Both blinded in an accident 11 years ago, the Sperry brothers received cornea transplants in their right eyes in August, and, to date, the transplants are successful.

"Everything has been good so far," said Ricky, 20, who was more severely injured than his brother on Sept. 13, 1974, when the boys dropped a refrigerated tank of ammonia they were carrying and it splashed into their faces and eyes. "We just go along and wait and see."

The Sperrys have learned to deal with life one day at a time, Ricky said, because they have had so many other transplant rejections after earlier surgeries.

Other Transplants

Ricky has had 10 cornea transplants, five in each eye, while Jimmy has had five in his left eye and one in his right.

Until their most recent transplants, neither of the brothers could see anything more than a few inches in front of them. Ricky's eyes were so sensitive that most of the time he had to wear ski goggles with filters.

"I know I couldn't have done what they have done," their mother, Beverly, said. "To be able to see for a while, then not be able to--I couldn't have stood that emotionally. But they have. They have never complained."

If the current transplants remain successful, Dr. Jeffrey Robin of the Estelle Doheny Eye Clinic/USC Medical Center, who performed the August operations, plans to do cornea transplants in their left eyes in 1986.

For the Sperrys' latest operations, Robin donated the surgery; Lions Doheny Eye Bank, the corneas; Doheny Eye Hospital, its services.

Today, Jimmy, 24, and Ricky spend their time reading, playing cards, watching TV and riding mopeds up and down their street in Monrovia. They go to Robin every two weeks for eye examinations.

In February, they will enroll in Citrus College in Azusa. "We're both planning to take 15 units," said Ricky. "We have to take English and other requirements, but we want to take automotive courses because eventually we'd like to open our own body shop. That's what we both like to do, work on cars. We'll probably always work together."

In 1983 the Sperrys bought a used van and spent four months getting it into custom shape for car shows. "We did it mostly by feel, rather than sight," Jimmy said.

In January, 1984, the boys entered the van in the Victorville Custom Car, Cycle and Hot Rod Show, and won the first place trophy in the custom van class.

"I used to worry that they couldn't get out and do a lot of things other kids do," Beverly Sperry said. "Now, I worry when they get out on their mopeds. But it's wonderful. This has changed their lives."

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