Raising Money for Cochlear Implants for Those Who Cannot Afford Them
By Dr. Noël Crosby, Au.D. –
Those of you who know me personally understand that I have two great passions: 1) helping those with hearing loss improve their ability to hear and 2) supporting the Tampa Bay Rays as a season ticket holder. It is no wonder then, that for the past 6 months I have been an enthusiastic follower and supporter of Jacob Landis of Annapolis, MD who also shares my passions. Let me tell you a little about this amazing young man.
When Jacob was two years old, his mother took him to have a hearing test because she thought his speech development was slow for his age.
She was right.
By the time he was in kindergarten, Jacob was wearing hearing aids. When he reached fourth grade, hearing aids no longer worked, so in 1999, when he was ten, Jacob was fitted with a cochlear implant. The surgery changed his world. No longer withdrawn, Jacob resumed playing baseball and riding his bicycle. He went on to college and earned an associate degree and he currently works fulltime as he decides how he will continue his college education.
Jacob credits his cochlear implant with changing his life. It is the reason he believes that his deafness serves a special purpose. And so, Jacob decided to combine his three passions of baseball (he’s a Baltimore Orioles fan); long-distance biking and helping the hearing impaired to pursue a very challenging goal.
And so in April of this year, Jacob began a coast-to-coast, 10,500-mile bicycle ride to visit the 30 major league baseball teams in the US. His goal? To raise money for those who would benefit from cochlear implants but who cannot afford the operation.
Hearing impairment is now the number one birth defect among children born in America. Each year over 12,000 babies are born with hearing loss, and the number affected swells to 500,000 when you add children and adults affected.
Cochlear implants (CI) are the most successful medical intervention for those who are profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing. The cost of the operation is $50,000-$100,000 and is often an insurmountable obstacle for those wishing to join the audible world. While a CI does not restore normal hearing, it can give a deaf person a useful representation of sounds in the environment and help them understand speech. Jacob describes it this way. “The whole world is open to me because of the implant. And that world can be open for the thousands of children in my situation.”1
Jacob’s Ride began April 3rd in Annapolis, MD and ended 175 days later on September 24th at the Marlins Stadium in Miami, Florida. I am proud to say that I personally met Jacob when he arrived at the Tampa Bay Rays Stadium, the second-to-last stop on his ride. At that point he had already raised approximately $150,000.
But then, tragedy struck. When he was 180 miles of reaching his final destination in Miami, Jacob was clipped by a semi truck, resulting in his ride being cut short. He is OK and despite his injuries (concussion, broken nose and front tooth and a fractured cheek bone) Jacob was able to attend the final game in his journey, although he did not arrive on his bicycle.
In an interview with a reporter from the Miami New Times Jacob said, “I hope to be able to come back to Florida as soon as feasible to finish the last 180 miles. Whether I do or don’t, I feel like I’ve accomplished what I set out to do, which is raise money and awareness for children who deserve the same gift of hearing I received.”2
You can still make a donation to Jacob’s Ride by visiting http:/www.jacobsride.com/donate/.
Funds raised by Jacob’s Ride will go to existing foundations and hospitals that work with cochlear implant candidates. These organizations include:
• The Gift of Hearing Foundation, Massachusetts
• Hearing Loss Association of America
• Johns Hopkins Medicine: Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Maryland
• Mayo Clinic, Minnesota
• J.W. Pickle Foundation, Tennessee
Dr. Noël Crosby, Au.D., owner and practicing audiologist at Advanced Hearing Solutions in Englewood, FL is an experienced professional whose career has been devoted to helping people of all ages hear and understand more clearly.
With over 25 years of experience, Dr. Crosby’s career path is marked by the pursuit of advanced education. After completing her undergraduate requirements, she received her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from Florida State University and her Doctorate in Audiology from the University of Florida.
Her credibility as an authority grew during her tenure as the Director of Audiology at the Silverstein Institute in Sarasota, FL from 1991-1998. Today, in addition to managing a successful audiology practice, Dr. Crosby just completed her second term as president of The Florida Academy of Audiology.
941-474-8393 | www.drnoelcrosby.com
1. Davis, Brad. Maryland man will bike to Tropicana Field after nearly 10,000 miles raising money for the deaf
2. Colagrand, J.J. Jacob Landis, Charity Cyclist, Hit by Truck in Florida: “I’m Just Grateful to Be Here” http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/cultist/2013/09/