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Gerry O'Shea, Jr.

2011 Team Eye and Ear member
Raised $5,430 for head and neck cancer research

Since a young age I have lived with hearing loss in my right ear. Cholesteatomas, tumor-like growths in both of my middle ears, have led to five surgeries over the years and I still see a physician at Mass. Eye and Ear for follow-up. Although I have lived most of my live with hearing loss, my experiences over the past two years relating to an eye injury motivated me to join Team Eye and Ear to raise important funds for this world-class organization. In February 2010, I underwent surgery at Mass. Eye and Ear to repair a torn and detached retina in my right eye which resulted from a basketball injury.

My experience while staying overnight after my retina surgery influenced my opinion most about Mass. Eye and Ear. In my recovery room after surgery, my roommate was a gentleman who was struggling with jaw cancer. He had also just come out an extremely invasive and painful surgery. He had traveled from Germany for this surgery at Mass. Eye and Ear. He explained that he had researched the best hospitals world-wide for his type of surgery and chose Mass. Eye and Ear as his best option. In the recovery room, he and I spent several hours talking – well into the morning – sharing our personal and professional backgrounds as well as stories about our families and our lives in general. Afterwards we kept in touch via e-mail. Most of my vision has been restored thanks to Mass. Eye and Ear. Sadly, I found out a few months later that my roommate had passed away after several more months of chemotherapy and radiation.

Upon joining Team Eye and Ear, I chose to raise funds for head and neck cancer research at Mass. Eye and Ear so that others do not have to endure what my roommate in the recovery room went through. So that one day, we might find a cure for this type of invasive cancer.

The day of the marathon was one of the best days of my life. After months of training on the course in the snow, wind and ice, Marathon Monday delivered perfect conditions. After struggling through Wellesley and up Heartbreak Hill, I was able to finish and beat my personal goal for the race.

Being part of Team Eye and Ear was very rewarding because I knew that I made a difference for so many others.