I happened to glance at my wall on Saturday morning when I woke for the day. On my wall hangs the framed certificate I received when I was named a HearStrong Champion. June 10th was the date three years ago.
You know there are dates in history that are etched in your memory like a chisel on stone. I remember certain dates really well and other dates, like whole years of high school, I remember not much of anything. Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, my wedding, my children’s births, and HearStrong are days that I can recall about every detail.
When I was notified about this award I was going to be given I was shocked, shy, and didn’t think I really deserved this award. What were others seeing in me that I wasn’t? I am not one with a high self-esteem so being put on the pedestal and having a few hundred people watching me and hearing me talk wasn’t something I was used to.
Three years ago I traveled to the cities with my daughter and a friend. We were treated like royalty at Starkey. I received much more that day then a framed certificate, an engraved medal, new hearing aids and Surflink products. I was given a purpose. I was given a boost to my self-esteem. I was given the feeling that I can do anything. I am smart, capable and if I want to do something I should try it and I know I could succeed.
I have always been big fan of radio and kinda a nerd when it comes to radio. I was the high school and college kid that would try and find the furthest station away at night and listen to that. In high school I would listen to Chicago radio at night, only time it came in. In college I became addicted to listening to TD Mischke, Art Bell, radio theater and the list goes on and on. I felt a pull to radio. Even as my hearing went down I could turn the radio up and enjoy it, if other people weren’t around talking or complaining that the radio is loud.
A couple years ago I took a job 40 minutes away working nights and weekends at a radio station. I loved learning the business. How to work a board, record and being on-air. Bad parts were the hours and days and quit short of a year. If I could have had different hours I sure would have stayed in radio.
4 months ago my phone rang and there was an opportunity for the radio just 5 blocks from my home and day hours. I was scared, nervous, and ready to show I could do this. It took a lot of nerve and chutzpah. I put myself out there and here 3 years later I am doing something I love. Something I wish I would have been doing for years before now. I give a lot of the credit to HearStrong. They showed me that I am worthy and I am doing great things. A letter to the editor, sharing about hearing loss… they make a difference. I am making a difference.
Now as the program director at the station and the morning show host I can share ideas. I can hopefully make a difference in someones life who is listening. I can be myself, I can share that I am hard of hearing without fear or embarrassment. I can ask for accommodations and have. I have the self-esteem that my life deserves to be better and I am on the trend upwards. What a huge complement when I walk into any local business and I hear comments how they love to hear me on the air in the mornings. I am doing what I love. Thank you to HearStrong for showing me that I was worth it and I can do it.