Mason Harrell, III M.D., M.P.H., FACOEM

Mason Harrell, Eleanor’s father, is a double board-certified physician in Occupational Medicine, and Public Health and General Preventive Medicine. Passionate about occupational health, Mason’s expertise has informed projects at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the World Health Organization (WHO), American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM), and MDGuidelines®. His original research on factors affecting workforce health have appeared in leading medical journals, and, as an active-duty Navy Lieutenant Commander, he currently teaches the U.S. Navy’s Occupational and Environmental Medicine Fundamentals Course that he created. His current COVID-19 Work includes lecturing over 1,500 medical, health, and safety professionals, creating policies and procedures, providing primary care, and directing contract tracing. In his spare time, Mason applies his medical training tirelessly in service of those needing advocates, volunteering with Physicians for Human Rights in addition to his role at IDefine.

IDefine’s mission of identifying treatments, funding research, and creating connections between families facing a KS diagnosis and healthcare professionals is a natural extension of Mason’s life’s work in medicine and advocacy.

In Mason’s Words:

Tell us about the person you love who was diagnosed with KS.

Eleanor, my 2-year-old has challenged me to revisit my purpose. Eleanor enjoys swinging, music, and learning to walk. I think she enjoys cuddles, or she just likes to see her father really happy. 🙂

When did your child receive a KS diagnosis?

1 year old.

What resources, outlets, communities were most helpful to you at that time?

Visiting Dr. Kleefstra and KS conference in Italy.

How has KS changed your life as a family?

I’ve focused on three opposing emotions that have turned me upside-down. (1) In order to maximize Eleanor’s benefits from Health Insurance and Government Programs, I’ve focused on the negative which has been very depressing, (2) Being a visionary, planner and a controller of my future I focus on the dream – finding a cure, and (3) Being a realist, not believing in magic, not knowing her future, and realistically accepting the likely scenario of a very difficult and painful road ahead, I try to focus on accepting Eleanor on who she is – not trying to change her, enjoying her presence of who she is now without distractions of who she could be.

Eleanor inspires us to be kinder than we have ever imagined.

What is your biggest hope for the future?

To never give up on finding a cure.