Billy Crystal Gives Reason to Smile
August 10, 2018
At the 2018 So the World May Hear Awards Gala, long-time friend of the foundation, actor and comedian, Billy Crystal, auctioned off a chance to go on a hearing mission with his family to Peru. The team was thrilled to have several volunteers join us and the Crystal family in the mountainous range of Cusco, Peru and then in Lima. Billy’s family was touched after his father was fit with hearing aids years ago. After supporting the Foundation for so many years, he realized that it was his family’s turn to experience the magic of a hearing mission.
The culture, food and landscape of Peru are breathtaking, but as always, the most impactful part of the trip is the opportunity to work with the local communities and give the gift of hearing. Billy shared, “You don’t know what it’s like, until you do it. It’s a moment that we will always have in our lives. It’s a moment that you will only get when you’re part of a group of all of you and it’s because of Tani and Bill. We’ve changed people’s lives and they’ve changed ours.”
Working with our Latin American team, we shared smiles, laughs and even songs in Cusco. One memorable patient gave us a beautiful rendition of a popular Latin song after he was fit. He sang specifically to another abuelita (grandmother) who had been fit. She had tears streaming down her face, which were echoed on the faces of others listening.
We moved on to Lima, Peru, where the moments and memories were emblazoned into our minds and hearts. Overall, we were able to serve almost 2,500 patients during the four hearing mission days with many helping hands from near and far.
Billy was able to share in the hearing missions with his wife, daughter, son-in-law and two granddaughters.
Billy shared, “The greatest thing of all for me, was watching my two granddaughters blossom like a time-lapse photo. Our hope was that this would mean something to you—that this would change your life in a way [...] you can touch people and make people feel and help people. That’s the power that you have inside of you. And it was unleashed every day.”
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