Eden Prairie, Minnesota

September 2013 USA

Our office was flooded with inspiration when 22 Special Olympics Minnesota athletes and their families arrived for a homegrown mission. The Foundation has partnered with Special Olympics Minnesota on its Healthy Hearing Athletes Initiative, and this mission kicked off what we hope will become long and life-changing collaboration that will open up the world of sound to all Special Olympics athletes in need. Each athlete was fit with top-of-the-line, customized hearing aids that opened up the world of sound like never before.

Discussing the significance of this mission, Bill Austin said, “We don’t believe in disabilities. We believe in ability. Everybody has it, and we have to find it and use it and maximize it.”

Former Minnesota Viking Matt Blair was also on hand to support the athletes, including his good friend Katie Timmer. She has been participating in Special Olympics for more than 30 years and met Blair at a golf tournament. Over the years, Blair has become Timmer’s biggest fan. Unfortunately, she suffered from a hearing loss that had begun to affect her performance, but once she received the gift of hearing, she couldn’t wait to get back out on the golf course.

Special Olympics president, Dave Dorn, said the partnership with the Foundation would make a huge difference in each of the athlete’s lives.

“It’s a confidence builder,” Dorn said. “They can be engaged in conversations and hear the world around them. All of a sudden they are much more participatory and active in their surroundings because they can hear what’s going on.”

Special Thanks

Special Olympics Minnesota

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