I am pleased to have found out my mother has contacted you, she is always
looking to help me any way she can. This all begin from me asking her the
other day if she could clip some coupons for me (because she is the coupon
queen) for hearing aid batteries so I can try and save some money when it
comes to buying new ones. I currently am a student at SUNY Cortland
attending my last semester on campus doing a full time unpaid internship. My
internship runs Monday through Friday 8:30am-4:30 pm along with after hour
campus activities that we have to attend. My job involves working in the
health promotion office for the university planning, organizing, attending,
and educating different health related functions for the students on campus. An
example of this would be our upcoming body application week. I am very
lucky to have landed this internship because I am doing what I love, helping
people and educating a healthy life style.
Along with working my internship I also work at the campus fitness center
usually 6am-8am then 5pm-7pm. I currently live on my own making my financial
situation tight so saving every penny helps.
Words cannot describe how grateful I am to have your help with donating
hearing aid batteries to me. I cannot thank you enough and your help well
never be forgotten.
I have been attending college for 6 years receiving my associate’s degree in
liberal arts, and I will be receiving my bachelor’s degree in community
health with a concentration in wellness and promotion this May. College has
been a struggle for me, having 14 surgeries for my ears in high school due
to cholesteatoma is a battle that I will never forget. My hearing
impairment kind of left me as an outcast, I never heard whispers, was not
allowed to play sports, and could barely hear teachers. I felt alone in my
own quite world. I always remember calling my mother in the high school
bathroom crying asking her to come pick me up because I could not hear.
After 14 surgeries I have found myself cholesteatoma free for about 5 years.
The battle I struggle with now is maintaining my hearing. Recently, over the
summer by hearing loss became pretty bad and the discussion of a hearing aid
was once in my life again. I remember the first time speaking to a hearing
aid specialist back in high school, she asked what ones I wanted to try on
and I said that I did not want to try any of them on. Nervous scared anxious
I made an appointment.
My main fear came from how I was going to look, like you said in your video
I will now be different on the outside but the same on the inside. This was
a hard reality for me because during that time I was preparing for my 2nd &
3rd body bodybuilding bikini competition. These competitions involve a
tremendous amount of self-discipline, dedication, and hard work. My biggest
fear then became my appearance on stage. I feared working my hardest and
loosing because I had an ugly device strapped to my ear.
With all my worries in mind I made an appointment and tried on a hearing aid
for the first time. Again, words can’t describe the feeling I had for the
first time I COULD HEAR. I heard the receptionist in the other room, my
little brother sliding his foot, my own voice, and my mother so clearly; I
had never felt so much joy in my life. So the decision was made and I was to
be receiving my very first hearing aid.
On a side note: I would just like to add that the fact that hearing aids are
not covered under insurance blows my mind. Working and learning the health
care field I know how many individuals need assistance that has very little
covered under insurance. Which makes me respect you and what you do so much
more knowing you are literally giving the people the ability to hear again.
Back to my story, at first I was shy with my hearing aid I did not want anyone to know but I slowly became more comfortable with it. When it came to my
competition time I was nervous as ever, afraid I was going to lose because
my hearing aid would make me less beautiful as everyone else. So I took a
risk and competed using my hearing aid, on stage in front of about one
hundred people I threw my fears out the window. That competition I placed
4th. Still motivated I competed the next weekend even informing some of the
staff that I was hearing impaired and to please assist me by making sure I
know when it is my turn to enter the stage. That competition I was more
confident and I feel the judges knew it. I finally placed 1st winning my
NABBA Pro Bikini Competitor Card. I also placed first in the couples
division with my boyfriend.
I feel like I faced my biggest fear and beat it. Now I am no longer ashamed
of my hearing aid because it has changed my life so much. My whole experience
with a hearing disability has made me who I am today. I am more
understanding of others with disabilities and I try to make everyone I meet
smile. Even though I no longer wish to compete as a bikini competitor I
still enjoy working out and lifting weights and will be competing in the
school weight lifting meet this semester.
Some days it’s a struggle and in the past I used to wonder “why me” but I
understand now I have been given this gift because I am strong enough to
handle it. I am given this gift to help others to help make the world a
better place one person at a time. I would not change the life that was
given to me for a million dollars because this struggle has shown me that
my disability does not own me I own my disability.
Thank you so much again for your help! Also, thank you for sharing your
struggles, videos and creating this foundation. This foundation that you
have created has now personally touched my life and the lives of many others
you are truly a great man. Thank you