Setting sight on surgery

Jim Day
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P.E.I. man hopes to regain vision through treatment in Boston

Derek Morrison, right, says watching his brother Paul go the past six years without eye sight "pulls at your heart strings''. Surgery in Boston next month, though, may restore Paul's vision.

Paul Morrison can’t wait to hop back on a motorcycle.

He will, however, need to wait. He will also need some good fortune.

The 37-year-old Pleasant Grove man has been legally blind for the past six years. Surgery next month at the Boston Foundation for Sight (the procedure is not available in Canada) could restore his vision.

He likes the odds of the PROSE treatment, which includes designing, fabricating and fitting multiple trial devices, going well.


The chance of Morrison getting working sight back — vision sufficient to work, read and play sports — is pegged at about 89 per cent, he says. He says successful surgery that comes with plenty of follow-up treatment would be nothing short of life-changing. His eyes tear up at the thought of being able to see how family and friends look today. He would also love to see what the many people he has met since losing his sight look like. He has one activity in mind in particular, though, if and when he can see again.

“Hop on the bike and go around the shore will be the first trip,’’ he said without hesitation.

Morrison laments losing the ability to pursue his many passions, like riding a motorcycle and playing fastball. The door closed on those activities and much more when he suffered a severe infection in both eyes, resulting in the loss of his sight.

The infection was a side effect of experimental medication he was taking to deal with aplastic anemia, a condition where bone marrow does not produce sufficient new cells to replenish blood cells. That condition left him in need of hundreds of blood transfusions.

Now he has his sight set on restorative eye surgery.

Morrison says he is trying not to get too excited about the surgery to minimize the disappointment if things don’t work out.

He also must prepare for the considerable expense. The procedure will cost about $20,000. Other expenses like travel and follow-up treatment will add thousands of dollars in cost.

Friends and family are stepping up in an attempt to raise funds.

A benefit is set for Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. at the North Shore Community Centre. There will be local entertainment and a dance beginning at 9 p.m. Admission is by donation at the door. Donations can also be made online at or at any branch of Scotiabank on P.E.I. to the Paul Morrison Trust.

Morrison, a huge Boston Bruins’ fan who finds great companionship in his blind Yellow lab named Bourque (named after former Bruins’ star Raymond Bourque), has been touched by a large show of support to his situation.

“There’s been lots and lots of help,’’ he said. “Obviously, I appreciate it more than words can say.’’

Derek Morrison is clearly pained witnessing the ongoing ordeal of his brother, who he calls his best friend.

“To have a brother go through this, it pulls at your heartstrings,’’ he said. “The long and short of it is it is pretty tough.’’

Organizations: Boston Foundation for Sight

Geographic location: Boston, Pleasant Grove, Canada

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Recent comments

  • gail metcalfe
    October 16, 2012 - 20:26

    Just heard today that after two days in Boston that Paul has sight in both eyes... The best news EVER!

  • sandra stewart
    September 27, 2012 - 08:04

    I hope this surgery works for you Paul. You were always a great person and a wonderful friend. Good Luck to you. And going to Boston, to boot.

  • Melanie Bryanton-Perrin
    September 26, 2012 - 08:03

    Praying for you Paul. Best of luck!

  • Melanie Bryanton-Perrin
    September 26, 2012 - 07:08

    Praying for you Paul. Best of luck!

  • Bernie Lamphier
    September 25, 2012 - 23:00

    Dear Paul, All the best with your surgery!!!!! Danny and I will be looking forward to seeing you come up the Friston Road on your bike!!!!! You are in our prayers!!!!

  • derek
    September 25, 2012 - 21:17

    Life puts you through some unbelievable's wether you rise to challenge that matters! Thanks for all the kind words.

  • Barbara Rogers
    September 25, 2012 - 18:44

    Wishing you all the best with your surgery and in your future. You will be on your bike off to the beach in no time!

  • Jerry
    September 25, 2012 - 15:35

    Wishing you all the luck in the world Paul!!!!!

  • Stacey
    September 25, 2012 - 13:52

    Wishing you lots of luck Paul :)

  • Crystal Cooper Jackson
    September 25, 2012 - 12:54

    Best of luck to you Paul. Hope all goes as planned for you xx

  • don
    September 25, 2012 - 10:29

    best of luck.

    • Gary
      September 25, 2012 - 12:12

      All the best Paul, good luck

    • Kenna
      September 25, 2012 - 12:41

      I wish you the best of luck ..miracles are happening everyday around us YET....We tend to miss them happening because we get TOO busy somehow ! I hope someone snaps a picture of you when you see the oceanside .(but with that said ....your choice of hockey teams is a bit SAD ....LOL.JOKING )