Irish Tenor gives inaugural Department of Surgery Insight Series lecture

December 11, 2018

On November 30, faculty and staff from Texas Children’s Department of Surgery and Perioperative Services gathered for the inaugural presentation of the Department of Surgery Insight Series. The new series of inspirational lectures, given by well-known speakers, was created as a way to foster personal development within the department.

“We are so lucky to be able to do what we do every day for these children, and the professionals here at Texas Children’s do it with unmatched levels of skill, kindness and dignity; but it can exact a toll both physically and emotionally,” said Surgeon-in-Chief Dr. Larry Hollier. “Seeking inspiration in what we do and where we are is important to help ease these burdens. The purpose of these talks is to inspire our faculty and staff, and to teach them new ways to approach their professional and personal lives.”

If the first presentation of the series was any indication, members of the Department of Surgery have much to look forward to.

The afternoon’s speaker was Ronan Tynan – physician, multiple medal-winning and record-setting Paralympian, and member of the renowned singing group, The Irish Tenors – whose fascinating personal story of triumph in the face of adversity had the audience laughing one moment and crying the next.

Tynan, who grew up in Ireland, was born with a lower limb disability that caused both his legs to be underdeveloped. However, this didn’t hinder Tynan from leading an active childhood on his family’s farm, where his favorite activities were horseback riding and racing motorcycles. Another setback occurred when Tynan was twenty and both legs had to be amputated due to serious complications following an auto accident. But in only a few weeks, he was bounding up flights of stairs on prosthetic legs, and within a year, he was winning medals and setting world records in the Paralympics. After his success as an athlete, Tynan set his sights on yet another goal – to become a physician – and earned a degree from Trinity College, specializing in orthopedic sports injuries.

That impressive résumé would be the dream of many, but Tynan was just getting warmed up. At the encouragement of his father, he decided to pursue another passion – singing. Shortly after beginning his formal training, he won a string of vocal competitions and awards, which ultimately led to his big break with the chart-topping trio, The Irish Tenors.

Tynan cited the importance of relationships in our lives. He cited the encouragement and support of others as a driving force behind his many personal victories, and reminded the audience that preparation, belief in one’s self and abilities, and the willingness to take chances are necessary parts of growing, succeeding and finding happiness.

“We are so honored to have had Dr. Tynan with us for this special presentation,” said Hollier. “His amazing story, and the fact that he has chosen to be happy despite, or perhaps because of, the challenges he’s faced, is an inspiration and lesson all of us can learn from.”