February 2016 USA
For nine years, children and adults across the United States have received the gift of hearing before one of the biggest events in the world.
On February 6, you could find the team at San Francisco State University where 134 participants received their individualized hearing aids and encouragement from professional athletes and award-winning artists. The participants cheered when they saw Ted Ginn Jr. of the Carolina Panthers arrive to help just a day before playing in the Super Bowl.
“Whenever I can give back to Starkey Hearing Foundation, I try to,” Ginn Jr. said. “They call and text to keep up with me. I was with two or three different teams, and they were still with me, they still had my back. They give 365 days a year.”
Long-time friend of Starkey Hearing Foundation and Academy Award®-winning actress Marlee Matlin also came out ahead of performing sign language interpretation of the national anthem at the Super Bowl. Many of our familiar faces took part in the event including NFL® All-Pros Larry Fitzgerald and Adrian Peterson, and singer Jordin Sparks.
The hearing mission also welcomed a handful of new celebrity friends as well, including rapper 50 Cent and a cast of NFL players who were attending the nearby NFL Pro Camp.
“To see the smile on her face, that’s really what it’s all about,” New York Jets tight end Zach Sudfeld said after seeing a young patient receive hearing aids for the first time. “It’s just incredible work that they’re doing here. I’m so humbled and fortunate to be a part of it.”
All the celebrities who came out had striking reactions to seeing patients, ranging in ages from 4 to 84, receive their new hearing aids. The stars all talked at length about what their hearing means to them and the impact they hope that having better hearing will have on the patients.
The athletes and celebrities didn’t just show up and leave, they stayed and spent considerable time talking with the waiting patients, signing autographs, taking photos, and answering questions. There’s no counting the number of selfies that were taken at the hearing mission.
“Bill and Tani are great people, and they give nothing but love,” Adrian Peterson said after signing dozens of autographs for patients. “What they do is amazing. It’s great to see the support and have the athletes come out and give smiles to the children and adults.”
While it was fantastic to have so many big names join the event, the greatest feeling came from hearing, communicating, and connecting with so many people. This event demonstrated the care and concern for those who want to hear better. The modern digital hearing aids the patients received can positively impact their lives and the lives of those around them.
“Our Super Bowl hearing missions are truly amazing,” Starkey Hearing Foundation Executive Director Brady Forseth said. “Each year they give us the opportunity to come out to a new community, be joined by some of our fantastic supporters, and provide the gift of hearing to people in need.”
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