I am honored to run for Mass Eye and Ear's marathon team for 2 reasons. One is for my dad, the other for a friend. The beginning of 2018 started out on a bumpy road. My dad had a small skin cancer on his head that was frozen off. We thought it was gone, until August, when it decided to come back, with a vengance, growing to the size of a golf ball and invading 3 lymph nodes in his neck. After a 4 hour long surgery on a Monday at Mass Eye and Ear, which was done by Dr. Emmerick, the tumor and lymph nodes were removed. 2 days later, another surgery, this time 2 hours long, was done to close the now gaping hole in his head. He was discharged that Friday, walking out with half a head of hair. He had radiation 5 days a week for 7 weeks, with a day of chemo to ensure the cancer was gone for good this time. But with radiation to the neck, his tastebuds were affected, and that side of his head will never grow hair. But none of that matters. Without Dr. Emmerick and his team, I am not sure what would have happened.
I also run for Daniel "Dan" Muller, who was born with an inhereted eye disease that eventually leads to complete blindness. When Dan was young, he had no night vision..this meant his childhood home, the one he was able to navigate so easily during the day, was filled with night lights to keep him safe during the evening hours. This also meant, he was never able to enjoy a beautiful night sky, or even drive from dusk to dawn. When he was officially diagnosed with this eye disease, Choroideremia (CHM) by Dr. Elliot Berson, and expert in CHM, and the founder of the Bermon-Gund Laboraty for retinal degeneration out of Mass Eye and Ear, he was told, there is no treatment, no cure. Imagine living your life, waking up every day, knowing at one point, everything you can see and do, will eventually be taken from you? As he got older, and the disease progressed, his peripheral vision slowly was being impared. His vision was like looking thru straws. At the young age of 23, he lost ~90% of his peripheral vision in on eye, and ~60% in the other, which meant, he was now legally blind, and lost his license. He had a hard time coming to terms with this. Many times his hopes were raised when there were clinincal trials for treatment, but he was never a candidate for them. This disease is carried by females, and affects only males. Dan's sister Katie, my best friend, is a carrier. She coninutes to attend the seminars at Mass Eye and Ear regarding research and clinical tirals. Sadly, Dan passed away 5 years ago, never knowing if a cure was found. My running for Mass Eye and Ear helps raise money for research. To help not only Dan, and the men who know what their future will look like, but also for their families.
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