In BREATHLESS, Eric Chason describes his daughter Lillian's fight against H1N1 at UNC


In Breathless, Eric Chason describes his daughter Lillian's fight against H1N1 at UNC

a conversation with author and UNC professor Mark Perry

Wednesday 1/29, 7 pm

Lillian was a freshman at UNC, a promising theater major facing the challenge of Stargardt’s disease, a condition that was causing her to go blind. When, in the fall of 2009, Lillian became sick, she assured her parents it was just the flu. Four days later she was in the university hospital, relying on a machine to breathe for her. 

Based on her father’s journal, this memoir describes what it’s like to live through a parent’s worst nightmare, conveying the heart-wrenching ups and downs of Lillian’s time in the hospital.  At the same time, it recounts the life of a remarkable young woman who, despite the gradual loss of her sight, was determined to finish high school, attend college far from home, and embark on an independent life. This, her parents told each other, was the hardest struggle their daughter would ever face.

Yet, as Lillian lay tethered to life-support, each day a parry against time, her father realized that every challenge his daughter ever faced was only a backdrop for these few, excruciating days in which she fought for her life.

Eric Chason is a professor of engineering at Brown University. He has published over 150 technical articles that are rarely seen outside of libraries. His memoir, Breathless, is the first personal piece of writing he has published. He was compelled to write it to tell the story of his daughter Lillian. It has no equations.


Mark Perry teaches play analysis and playwriting in the Department of Dramatic Art. His plays The Will of Bernard Boynton and A New Dress for Mona have been produced in our Kenan Theatre, and both have now been published by Drama Circle. Mark has recently directed two classic plays with Kenan Theatre Company: Hedda Gabler and The Cherry Orchard.

Event date: 
Wednesday, January 29, 2020 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Chapel Hill, NC 27514