Earlier this week, the primary immunodeficiency community lost one of our greatest champions—William T. Shearer, MD, PhD, passed away Tuesday, October 9 in Houston, TX at the age of 81.
In addition to serving as the lead physician offering innovative and compassionate care for David Vetter, affectionately known as “The Boy in the Bubble,” Dr. Shearer was responsible for numerous pioneering and meaningful discoveries that transformed the testing and treatment of primary immunodeficiency diseases during his illustrious four-decade career at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital.
Throughout the Immune Deficiency Foundation’s history, Dr. Shearer made many important contributions that helped to shape and advance the mission of our organization. In addition to serving as an engaged and highly respected member of our Medical Advisory Committee, Dr. Shearer played an important role in the success of a wide variety of IDF’s major initiatives, including the IDF Patient & Family Handbook. In reaction to our patient community’s concerns about the importance of immunization, he was the lead author of the landmark article, “Recommendations for live viral and bacterial vaccines in immunodeficient patients and their close contacts.” His tangible leadership within the PI community included regular participation in and presentations at our national conferences and meetings, participation in our annual Walk for PI events, and taking part in media interviews on a national level on behalf of IDF on numerous occasions.
Dr. Shearer was an amazing person and the PI community will forever be grateful for the advancements he fostered in the testing and treatment of these rare diseases. He will also be remembered for the expert care he provided in the diagnosis and treatment of many members of our community over the years. His legacy will live on in the hundreds of thousands of people with PI who are leading healthier, more active lives because of his work.
If you would like to read more about Dr. Shearer and his life and career, please access this link to a feature story in the Houston Chronicle or his bio page on the Texas Children’s Hospital website.