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A Project Near and Dear to My Heart Long Island Sound Wine Tasting and Hearing Help
For years, I have been a proud and active member of the Valley Stream Lions Club, a local chapter of Lions Clubs International. For those who might not know, Lions Clubs International is the largest service organization in the world. It is a network of millions of people scattered across nearly every country who share the motto, “We Serve,” and who aid local communities around the globe. In 1998, I realized that the resources of the club and its overall mission might be well-suited for addressing a common problem I saw in my audiology practice. My personal mission has been to help people with hearing loss overcome the challenges of hearing difficulty and live more fulfilling lives. However, like many audiologists, I would occasionally encounter patients in difficult situations who simply could not afford the technology and services they needed. I was frustrated and disheartened to see these people falling through the cracks of the insurance and government aid systems, forced to suffer from persistent issues that drastically diminished their quality of life. I encouraged my fellow members of the Valley Stream Lions Club to start a program to address this problem. They rose to the occasion. Even though they were already involved in programs, such as those helping people with vision problems and diabetes, they put together a program that helped many people struggling with hearing difficulty. I helped by collecting used hearing aids, contributing my time and expertise to
recondition them, and providing fittings and follow-up services for underprivileged patients throughout the area. Eventually, the Nassau County Lions Club of District 20-K2 adopted the program, allowing it to expand significantly. It is now officially known as the Lions District 20-K2 Lend an Ear Foundation and is an IRS- approved nonprofit organization. Throughout the years, I have had the privilege of being involved in many heart-warming cases. For example, one of the first patients who went through the program was a little girl who was still in grammar school and struggling with severe hearing difficulty. Though her parents were eager to provide her with hearing aids and related services, they had other children with other health issues, and they just could not afford one more expense. We were able to fit her with reconditioned hearing aids, enabling her not only to hear those around her, but also to do better in school, make friends, socialize, and play like kids are meant to. This is just one example of the positive effect Lions Lend an Ear has had. To this day, I work with a talented and dedicated array of volunteers in the Lions Club to ensure the expansion and continuation of the program. Though I am proud to have a hand in starting Lions Lend an Ear, there are so many others who have been pivotal to its success, such as the program’s chair and co-chair, Janet Mahabir and Helen Farley. Among the other vital members of the board of directors
are program advisor Theresa Whalen and my fellow clinical advisor to the program, Veterans Affairs audiologist Dr. Tony Philip. Just last month, we held a wine-tasting fundraiser at the American Legion Hall in Floral Park, complete with a raffle and silent auction. Hardworking volunsteers received donations of wine and food for appropriate wine pairings from local businesses and presented them beautifully. We had a great time serving those who came out to support our mission. I was overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone who attended to help us give the gift of hearing to those in need. It meant so much to all of us in the program, and it was especially important to the people we serve. If you would like more information about Lions Lend an Ear, you can find it on Page 2 of this newsletter. L to R: Lions Lend an Ear to Treasurer Elizabeth Mandara, Co-chair Helen Farley, and Dr. Larry
–Lawrence Cardano, Au.D.
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