Sunday, April 05, 2009

A Very Special Walk

Please CLICK HERE to see my Walk4Hearing Page!

On Saturday, May 16th,I'll be participating in the Walk4Hearing in Chattanooga on the beautiful and colorful Riverwalk at the Chattanooga State Technical Community College in Chattanooga, TN. This very special walk is a fund-raiser to support the Hearing Loss Association of America. I am walking this very special because hearing loss is a public health issue that is third in line behind heart disease and arthritis. If you have been reading this blog for the last few years, you are familiar with my "Dance With Sound." I have lived with a severe/profound hearing loss since the age of 2. I joined HLAA when I started my cochlear implant journey and haven't looked back since!

HLAA is a lifeline for those who are affected by hearing loss. I would not be where I am in my "dance" if it wasn't for the support of family, friends, and HLAA. I've been to two HLAA conventions in the last two years which have been life changing for me. For I have found my "people" because they, too, know the trials and struggles of living with a hearing loss. Through HLAA I have made many long lasting friendships and gained a wealth of information related to hearing loss.

The Walk4Hearing goal is to increase awareness about the causes and consequences of hearing loss. By raising funds, HLAA can provide information and supprt for people with hearing loss and make a difference. It is estimated that 31 million Americans are affected by hearing loss and 2 million of them are deaf. Many of them lack the much needed information and support that they need as they struggle to fit in the hearing world. HLAA advocates for those with hearing loss to enable persons to be all they can be and live full and productive lives.

Someone asked me a few weeks ago that if I could name the one person that has made a difference in my life, who would it be and why. I've been blessed with a great support system throughout my life with family, friends, teachers, mentors, coworkers, health professionals, and even strangers who were understanding and willing enough to help me when I couldn't hear or "get the message." But the one person that has influenced my life the most would be my mother. She was such a great advocate for me and my younger brother, Doug, and did everything in her power to help us be the successful persons we are today in spite of our hearing loss. And because of her love and dedication, I am now in a position through HLAA to "pay it forward" and advocate for others with hearing loss who may not have the support system they need to succeed. Mom lost her battle to cancer 17 years ago on April 8th but is still very much a part of my life today. So, on May 16th, I will honor and remember her by wearing her picture on my t-shirt as I walk and advocate for hearing loss.

My team on the Walk4Hearing page (Chattanooga, TN) is the Knoxville Chapter of HLAA. Our team goal is to raise $1,000 and I have set a personal goal of raising $500.00. I hope to exceed both of those goals. I am not used to being on the receiving end of fund-raising efforts and do not like to ask for money from friends & family, especially during these difficult financial times. But this is for a good cause and I know that some of you will be glad to help! Your donation in any amount will be greatly appreciated and you can give anonymously if you wish.

If you would like to make a donation by personal check, please leave a comment and I will be glad to give you my email & address information so you can mail your contribution to me. All checks should be made out to Walk4Hearing. Donations are tax deductible and you will receive an acknowledgement from HLAA for your tax records.

Your donation will mean so much to me! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your love and support for hearing loss.