New York Eye and Ear Infirmary
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The Austin Pearce Kids’ Ophthalmology Fund


On behalf of the distinguished board of directors, physicians, nurses, and staff of
The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary I am pleased to appoint Austin Pearce as Ambassador representing our hospital. We are thrilled that Austin has taken the initiative to create   The Austin Pearce Kids’ Ophthalmology Fund to benefit children from around the world who come to New York Eye and Ear for sight-saving medical diagnosis and treatment.

Austin Pearce
Austin Pearce with D. McWilliams Kessler

Austin’s father, Alan, has been a patient at New York Eye & Ear due to severe eye inflammation that caused him great pain and threatened to leave him totally blind in one eye.

Ophthalmologist Dr. C. Michael Samson and retinal surgeon Dr. Uri Shabto collaborated to ensure that Alan’s sight would be preserved. This happened when Austin was only eleven years old. Even at this tender age, young Austin was generous of spirit, saving his spending money until he reached a total of $100, which he sent to me, saying “I sent the money because I wanted everyone with eye problems to get better quickly.”

Austin Pearce
Photo (from left to right): Dr. C. Michael Samson, Susan Pearce, Alan Pearce, Austin Pearce, Dr. Uri Shabto, Mc Kessler

When we invited Austin to visit so he could personally thank him, Austin arrived with another $20, which he eagerly placed into my hand. The visit was made even more memorable by the fact that Austin’s parents Susan and Alan decided to match their son’s caring gesture with a gift of their own. To honor Austin and support efforts to serve New Yorkers with eye problems, the Pearce family pledged an $18,000 gift to create The Austin Pearce Kids’ Ophthalmology Fund. Over the past few years, this fund is growing due to the generous contributions of Pearce family and friends.

Austin Pearce
Austin has written “The Trio of Mystery,” a book for children and their parents to read while they wait for or rest after surgeries.

More than thirty percent of New York Eye & Ear’s patient population consists of children and this number is growing across all three of the hospital’s specialties: Ophthalmology, Otolaryngology and Plastics & Reconstructive Surgery. Philanthropy is increasingly important to help support the expansion of our pediatric care services.

We thank Austin and his parents for their remarkable generosity and thank all of the Pearce family and friends for helping Austin success in his fundraising endeavors.

D. McWilliams Kessler
President and Chief Executive Officer



Austin Pearce
Austin Pearce at his Bar Mitzvah, Robinson’s Arch, Jerusalem, June 24, 2010.

We joyfully celebrated our son Austin’s thirteenth birthday on June 24, 2010, with his Bar Mitzvah at Robinson’s Arch in Jerusalem. This much-anticipated event was a pleasure for Austin, who diligently prepared to take up the mantel of young manhood. We were additionally proud when in the spring of 2012 Austin was selected to receive the President’s Educational Achievement Award for his outstanding academic excellence.
Austin takes pleasure in his role as special Ambassador to The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. This recognition was extended in honor of his fundraising efforts on behalf of the hospital and his creation of The Austin Pearce Kids’ Ophthalmology Fund. Austin is the hospital’s first teen Ambassador.

Austin has also become a Founding Benefactor of New York Eye and Ear’s Surgical Suite Initiative, a $13 million effort to upgrade the hospital’s surgical capabilities. With a $20,000 donation from Austin’s fund, one of these recovery bays will be named The Austin Pearce Pediatric Recovery Bay.

Austin Pearce
Austin and Grammy winning trumpeter Chris Botti at NYEE’s 2011 “Thanks for Giving Gala”

We and Austin are proud to be a part of The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary family, which, since 1820, has fulfilled a mission of service to the community, and thank all of our friends who are supporting Austin in his philanthropic endeavors. This is a very meaningful experience for our family.

Susan and Alan Pearce

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