David and I began the program "Hearing from the Heart" with The Sharon St. Cyr Fund, Inc. to raise money to assist individuals within our community with the purchase of hearing aids. Our first project to raise money has been the 2010 International Mr. Leather #31 calendars and sales are going extremely well; however, the demand for assistance is higher than we ever anticipated. The requests for assistance has been overwhelming since making the announcement and the requests do not look like they will slow down. In response to this, David and I are issuing the "1000 in 25 Challenge" to our community; 1000 calendars sold in 25 days. As a community, when we make this goal, 8 individuals, at minimum, will be provided with a hearing aid before Christmas.
31 million Americans suffer from hearing loss, yet 24 million are without hearing aids. Why, you ask? Hearing aids are not usually covered by medical insurance companies. With the cost for one hearing aid around $2,500, most people are not able to make the purchase. David and I spent $5,000 on my hearing aids, and whereas we are fortunate that we had the money to make the purchase, there are plenty of individuals within our own community who are not able to make this purchase.
I know that one day soon I will have lost my ability to hear the spoken word; however, studies have shown that persons who wear hearing aids are able to hear for longer periods of time before losing their hearing entirely. Think of it as a "use it or lose it" situation. The daily use of hearing aids enables a person whose hearing loss is inevitable to hear for a longer period of time; if a person does not use hearing aids, a person loses their hearing more rapidly. The sooner we get people fitted with a hearing aid, the sooner we can help them potentially offset their hearing loss.
I realize that 1000 calendars may seem like a lot of calendars and $20 may seem like a lot of money for a calendar. And yes, this is the part where Sally Struthers would usually talk about how "For a cup of coffee a day you can sponsor a child" and parade all the little children around her and say, "Do it for the children". I'm not going to do that. I will parade hot leathermen and leatherwomen around me though, but that has nothing to do with the selling of calendars. That's another fund raiser . . .
But I will say this. I know what it is like to slowly hear the world go a little quieter every day. I relish the moments that I hear my husband, my friends and my community tell me they love me. That is why this project is so important to me. I want everyone to hear those words as long as they possibly can hear them.
I know our community has 1000 individuals that are able to spend $20. Maybe at this time it isn't you and that is understandable. But do you know of someone that is able and willing? Forward this information to them in an email and send them a link to http://www.IML2009.com/charities.htm. If they do not want to pay with a credit card, they may mail a check made out to "The Sharon St. Cyr Fund, Inc." to 2641 Heatherwood Drive, Dallas, TX 75228. And why stop at only one person? The more we sell, the more hearing aids we are able to purchase.
I thank those that have already stepped forward to support this cause and I thank you for stepping forward now.
Your Leather Brother,