HONORING THE MEMORY OF A FRIEND
One month ago, my college friend Spass was among the first to contribute—generously—to my Walk4Hearing campaign. During last year's crowdfunding campaign for a new pair of hearing aids, Spass was, again, one of my top contributors. Sadly, I just learned that this sweet, kind, and giving soul passed away in his sleep yesterday.
I dedicate this Walk to the memory of Spass Stoiantschewsky and will participate in tribute to him on Saturday, where he will be very present in my heart. Rest in Peace, my dear friend.
Funds raised through the Long Beach Walk4Hearing support both the national Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) organization and our local Los Angeles chapter.
As you probably know, this is a personal issue for me. Hearing loss has been a part of my life since being diagnosed with genetic sensorineural otosclerosis in first grade. Although it started out mild, over time this progressive disease grew more and more severe. I got my first pair of hearing aids as a sophomore in college and today, may be looking at a cochlear implant not too far in the future.
Since 2006, the Walk4Hearing has raised more than $12 million, taking place in cities across the U.S. It is intended to increase awareness about hearing loss, help eradicate the stigma associated with it, and raise funds to provide information and support for people with hearing loss.
We walk because hearing loss is a public health issue third in line after heart disease and arthritis.
• Approximately 48 million Americans have some form of hearing loss
• More than 30 million are exposed to dangerous noise levels at their workplace
• An estimated 1 in 5 teens experience some degree of hearing loss
• 2.3 million Veterans receive treatment or disability compensation for hearing-related issues
Hearing loss affects one's ability to communicate every day in different situations - from a dinner conversation at a noisy restaurant, on the phone, to not hearing alarm clocks and smoke alarms. For people with hearing loss, these situations can be become obstacles without the right information and support. HLAA provides the assistance and resources for people with hearing loss and their families to learn how to adjust to living with hearing loss.
I have personally experienced the stigma, difficulties and obstacles of living day-to-day life in a hearing world. Millions of people who could benefit from hearing aids or cochlear implants don't wear them, whether for financial reasons, denial, embarrassment, or other issues. On a national level, HLAA is currently supporting legislation to make these important devices more affordable, while local chapters provide a safe place to share and be heard.
Please help me continue celebrating my birthday (which was on May 7) by supporting this campaign!
Thanks and Blessings,
For more information about HLAA, please visit www.hearingloss.org.