Walking for Hearing Loss Awareness and Other Worthy Causes

By Lolly Wigall

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California poppies in spring

I know it is fall because the leaves are turning reds and yellows and browns. I grew up in sunny California and despite the reputation that California has no seasons, it is not true. There are seasons in California. The winter does require a coat, but usually we can do without the hat and gloves.

Summer in the San Joaquin Valley is brutally hot. Spring was my favorite season when we had some rain during December.

The wild flowers, particularly the California Poppies blanket the normally brown hills with a golden hue. It is as spectacular as the hills and mountainsides in New England in the fall with the changing of the leaves.

But, mostly I know it is fall in New England because of all the WALKS that are taking place in and around Boston.  I know I am not the only one who is being inundated by the numerous worthy causes.  I am being solicited for my money, time and energy for multiple charitable organizations.

nfl cancerThe American Cancer Society has done a marvelous job educating the public about Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October. Every October the National Football League wears pink to make the public aware of breast cancer. The push, of course, is to ensure women get mammograms and receive the care they need if breast cancer is detected. 

The walks, such as the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and the Avon Walk, encourage women and their family and friends to walk and to collect donations for research to finding a cure for Breast Cancer.

Cancer, Walks and Colors

The color Pink is very prevalent during the month of October. Pink is the color that stands for Breast Cancer.  I found out recently that every cancer type has its own color. 

Visit the American Cancer Society website to find the color for various cancers.  You can purchase wrist bands, and other items to support research.

Other walks/runs in the Boston area are the Neighbor Brigade which collects money to help neighbors through a crisis.  This is their third year raising money with a walk.  Another walk is to Prevent Suicide and raise awareness of available help for those who are contemplating suicide.  Boston College sponsored a Jimmy Fund Walk in September that supports Cancer Research at Dana Farber.  On the same day there was a 2016 Walk to End Alzheimer’s Greater Boston Walk.  And, earlier in September the 2015 Boston Heart Walk was done.

walk for hearingOctober 25th in Boston is the Walk4Hearing sponsored by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA).  The original walk began small, as most things do.  There were just six walks that were organized in 2006.  This year however, there will be 21 walks being organized around the country.

Nearly, 60,000 people will walk this year and contribute to make hearing loss more visible to the general public.

According to the website, some walks take place in the spring, and some in the fall.  This year there will be a walk in San Diego on October 25th as well.  On November 7th, a Walk4Hearing will take place in Jacksonville, Florida.

Walk4Hearing Across the US

The walkers generally ask their family, friends and any business owners to contribute to the cause.  The money goes to raise awareness of hearing loss. The money is used locally to install hearing assistive technology in public spaces, fund hearing aids and devices for people who cannot afford them, sponsor seminars for families and professional, caption local HLAA chapter meetings, provide scholarships for students with hearing loss, and caption live theater productions.

The chapters become a social network for its members. The local HLAA chapter in Boston sponsors walks through museums for those with hearing loss, theater productions with interpreters, and other events.

Importance of Awareness, Advocacy

Almost 48 million Americans suffer from hearing loss in the US. Despite the many health, social and economic consequences associated with untreated hearing loss, it remains a public health issue that is far too invisible.

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Rocky Stone

Self Help for Hard of Hearing People, Inc. or SHHH was founded by the late Howard E. “Rocky” Stone in 1979.  His book, “An Invisible Condition:  The Human Side of Hearing Loss”.  You can download a copy of fourteen years of his editorials from the website.  Also, copies are available from Amazon.com. “Rocky” realized that there was not an organization to advocate for people with hearing loss.  SHHH has been instrumental in changing the landscape in public places.

As part of the Americans with Disabilities Act, for example, theaters now offer hearing assistance to those with hearing loss.  Most television programs are closed captioned.  There is a federal program that will install captioned telephones for hard of hearing individuals free of charge.  Many states have such a program as well.

The name SHHH was changed in November 2005 to Hearing Loss Association of America.  The organization continues to advocate and speak for those with hearing loss. It is a support system for families who have hearing impaired children.

Hearing Loss Association of America has a clear purpose of raising the public’s awareness of the condition that affects many families:  Hearing loss.