Hello Friends & Family,
Welcome to the year of the Ear! This year I will be participating in my 4th (and 1st virtual) Walk4Hearing in support of my daughter Riley, age 7. Riley was born with grade 3 microtia and atresia (little ear and no canal). This condition caused significant hearing loss in that ear. Riley is a very smart, independent, spunky and beautiful little girl and we continue to do everything we can to improve her hearing. Over the past year our family has been on a surgical reconstructive journey with Riley to help improve her hearing and provide her with a typical looking external ear. In September 2019 she had her first surgery at CHOP to build her an ear canal. In January 2020 Riley's hearing bones were 'freed up' and an eardrum was built in her new canal, also at CHOP. Both surgeries were determined to be a huge success! :) In June 2020 she had her first post-op hearing test. Riley went from having moderate/severe loss in her right ear to only mild loss - this is considered a significant improvement and we are so grateful to her surgeon Dr. John Germiller and his team at CHOP. In July we traveled to California (face masks, face shields, covid tests, quarantining and all) to receive a Medpor implant by the world renown surgeon, Dr. John Reinisch. Today Riley is at home recovering with her new ear and is SO excited to show her family & friends! Riley has been AMAZING through all of her surgeries. It is incredibly difficult to decide to subject your child to any level of risk, but as we are in the last leg of this journey, we feel as though it has been worth it because Riley is worth it. Her smiling face, twinkling eyes, beautiful ears, and loving heart are worth it.
Please donate to this fantastic cause on her behalf. The money raised goes to many different organizations, including the MCIU, CHOP, and The Ear Community (a few of which have helped us navigate the hearing loss world). I am so proud of Riley and we hope to pay forward the support and learnings she has benefitted from on to others through the Walk4Hearing.
Since we cannot gather at the Philadelphia Navy Yard for the walk this year, we a planning a local walk in our neighborhood to continue to show Riley and this organization our support :)
Many thanks in advance for your donation, support, and love <3.
Shelby Latchford Rutt
The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) Walk4Hearing increases awareness about hearing loss, helps to eradicate the stigma associated with it and raises funds to provide information and support for people with hearing loss. Since 2006, the Walk4Hearing has raised more than $12 million and has become the largest walk for hearing loss taking place in cities across the United States.
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 Americans are exposed to dangerous levels of noise in their workplaces
- An estimated 1 in 5 American teens experiences some degree of hearing loss
- 2.3 million Veterans receive either disability compensation for service-connected hearing disabilities or are in treatment for related hearing 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.
For more information about HLAA, please visit www.hearingloss.org.