Oliver Mathis was born with microtia and aural atresia. He will have surgery to receive his "Big Ear" in April 2023. Credit: Courtesy of Mathis Family

In the short period after he was born into the world to parents Matt and Cindell Mathis, now four-year-old Oliver Mathis was diagnosed with microtia and aural atresia on January 24, 2018.

Microtia refers to the underdeveloped external ear, and aural atresia is the absence of the ear canal. The diagnosis is extremely rare and can be a disheartening set of circumstances to any new set of parents welcoming their child into the world.

However, after an extensive and winding journey of hope and perseverance from Oliver and his parents, Oliver will be receiving his “Big Ear” on April 4, 2023!

You can learn more about his type of surgery — the Lewin Ear — here.

Journey to an Ear for Oliver

Grice Connect has been following the story on Oliver’s ear journey for some time now, both through ongoing communication with his parents, and through his Facebook page “An Ear for Oliver.”

Oliver and Cindell at the audiologist in Augusta (Photo Courtesy Mathis Family)

Oliver’s journey from a 3-weeks-early newborn baby to a now young Pre-K student has been nothing short of incredible, given the circumstances of his now end-in-reach ear journey.

Oliver and his parents will be traveling to California in April of 2023 to a secure facility to have his ear operation completed by a team of ear specialists. And after his ear surgery is completed, Oliver will be put into a post-operation recovery unit for routine follow-up and monitoring for about 2 weeks.

The surgery taking place in April 2023 is said to be the only surgery needed for Oliver’s “Big Ear” to be done and complete, with a second surgery being performed in December 2023 (only as needed for cosmetic purposes).

Trivia night fundraiser planned

Now on Oliver’s Facebook page you will see many fundraisers that are going on currently to raise money for his upcoming ear surgery. And one fundraiser that is coming up, on November 9th (which is also on Microtia Awareness Day), is a trivia night and live auction event at The Belle House from 5:30pm-8:30pm.

Single tickets to the event will be sold at $50, with an additional full-table option being available for $400 (includes 8 tickets). Each ticket will include entrance into the trivia event and includes a meal, which is being catered by Soyumi Asian Kitchen.

Additionally, if you would like to be a sponsor of the trivia night, sponsorship packages are available ahead of time as well. Sponsorship options include being a Bronze Sponsor ($150), Silver Sponsor ($250), or Gold Sponsor ($350) with the package options ranging from “Business Name/Logo Displayed During the Event” (Bronze Sponsor) to an all-encompassing “Special Recognition and Business Table Display at the event” (Gold Sponsor).

An outpouring of love and support for Oliver

Oliver’s parents Matt and Cindell have been so grateful for the outpouring of love and support shown to Oliver’s journey and cause thus far.

Oliver, left, with his parents and younger brother (Photo Courtesy Mathis Family)

In conjunction with ongoing donations, a previous fundraiser, Bids and BBQ, raised enough money to allow Oliver’s parents to reserve his surgery date and pay the deposit, which was a huge burden lifted for the family.

Regarding the event on November 9th, Cindell says, “Me and Matt would like to thank the Belle House for donating the facility for us to host our fundraiser and for Soyumi Asian Kitchen for providing the food for the event. We would also like to thank Jammin’ J Productions for hosting the trivia for the event, and Brent Stephens for being our live auctioneer.”

Other current sponsors of the event include McCook’s Pharmacy; Brinson, Williams, and Groomes; Copper Barn; Bulloch Floor Covering; Bulloch First; Forest Heights Pharmacy; Newton Appraisal Service; and Statesboro Pediatric Dentistry.

For more information on how you can donate or show support to Oliver’s upcoming Ear Surgery, please visit his current Facebook page or email his parents at cindellnesmith@gmail.com for more assistance.

Brandon Robinson

Brandon Robinson is an entrepreneur and freelance writer/blogger based in Statesboro, GA.