Running for Mass Eye and Ear is deeply meaningful to me. I want to run to raise money to fund research in memory of my mom for the 10th anniversary of her passing.
I have been a patient of Mass. Eye and Ear for almost ten years. In March of 2010, at the age of 24, I was diagnosed with a Central Retinal Vein Occlusion in my right as side effect from birth control. At the time I was living in Western Massachusetts and I came to Mass. Eye and Ear for a second opinion. As a healthy 24 year old it was extremely scary for me to go to bed one night with 20/20 vision and wake up the next day barely able to see out of one eye. Over the next 9 years I received treatment to help decrease the swelling in my eye and made adjustments to live with my new normal in terms of my vision.
Flash forward to this past March, 9 years later, while I was in California running the LA Marathon and I once again noticed a change in my right eye. Upon returning from the marathon I was diagnosed with Leber’s Miliary Aneurysm/beginning stages of Coat’s Disease, which I learned was causing the decrease in eye sight in my right eye. To give some perspective, less than 200,000 people in the United States have Coat's Disease. It's considered a rare disease, around 70% of those who have the disease are male and are typically diagnosed between the ages of 6-8 years old.
In July, I had a successful laser surgery to help prevent more damage to my eye and will routinely have to monitor it.
In December of 2009, 3 months before I was diagnosed with the Central Retinal Vein Occlusion, my mother passed away unexpectedly of complications from diabetes. She was a type 1 diabetic, who was diagnosed at the age 11. She was fiercely dedicated to participating in research studies related to diabetes. In 1981, she was diagnosed with Diabetic Retinopathy (which has many similarities to Coat's Disease) and was treated at Yale New Haven Hospital. My mom was an organ donor and always talked about wanting to donate her eyes to research for Diabetic Retinopathy, unfortunately my mom died from a heart attack and was not found in enough time to donate her organs.
Her unexpected death, crushed my world. She has missed and will miss so many important, defining moments in my life.
As I sat in the waiting room this past July at Mass Eye and Ear, waiting for my surgery with Dr. Mukai, I noticed that the waiting room was named for the Joslin’s Diabetes Center/Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary partnership towards Diabetic Retinopathy research/treatment and in that moment I decided that the best way to honor my mom was to run the Boston Marathon for an organization that would give back to things she was passionate about. There is nothing more meaningful to me than to be able to raise $10,000 for Team Eye and Ear in memory of my mom for her 10 year anniversary.
All funds raised through this page will be donated to the Ophthalmology-Retina department to benefit research for diseases like Coats Disease and Diabetic Retinopathy.
Mass Eye and Ear clinicians and scientists are driven by a mission to find cures for blindness, deafness and diseases of the head and neck. Each year, 300,000 people—adults and children—from 80 countries seek care at Mass. Eye and Ear and 20,000 of them undergo life-changing surgery.
Mass. Eye and Ear is home to the world's largest vision and hearing research centers, offering hope and healing to patients everywhere through discovery and innovation. As a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, Mass. Eye and Ear trains future medical leaders in ophthalmology and otolaryngology through our highly competitive residency and fellowship programs.
Mass. Eye and Ear is ranked a Top Hospital by U.S. News & World Report and a proud member of Partners HealthCare.
Learn more at MassEyeAndEar.org