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Staff Highlight: WRNMMC Soldier Shares Life-Saving Story


By MC2 (SW) Kevin V. Cunningham                                        

WRNMMC Command Communications​

There are few things Army 1st Lt. Shauna Pearson enjoys more than her life as a military doctor and competing as an endurance athlete, yet she was willing to put that all on the line for a fellow Soldier.

In 2015, Pearson found out her roommate’s brother, Army Sgt. Maj. Miguel Filipo, an active duty Soldier injured in Iraq, was in need of a kidney. “My first reaction was, ‘I want to get tested; I want to help him out,’” said Pearson.

At the time, Pearson was a full-time graduate student at the University of North Carolina and officer in the Army Reserve. Should the surgery go wrong, she risked not only her life as an avid runner, but her military career as well.

The risks didn’t sway her. “This is what I wanted to do and so I was going to do it,” said Pearson. “I feel like anyone in my position would do the same. It was just the right thing to do.”

After a successful surgery, Pearson struggled with the adjustment. “I was exhausted for three to four weeks and frustrated because I’m such an active person. When I did start running again, it was difficult not running as far and fast as I used to,” said Pearson. Once again, she was determined to do what she wanted, and six months after surgery she ran the Boston Marathon.

After serving six years as an enlisted Soldier, Pearson said the road to today has been long and unexpected.

She enlisted as a welder, explaining that coming from a family who did construction work, welding was something that was familiar to her. “That was really the only job I wanted to do when I went into the recruiter’s office,” she explained.

Pearson later earned her commissioned in 2013. She graduated with a doctorate in audiology and came to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in 2017.

“I love my job,” said Pearson. “Every single day I come to work I’m so happy to be doing what I do.” As an audiologist, Pearson provides service members support from hearing readiness to hearing exams.

“Though this is not what I thought I would be doing, this is exactly where I want to be: able to serve fellow Soldiers as an active duty Soldier,” Pearson said of her current job as an audiologist. “I love it,” she added.​