Local Residents Promote Hearing Health Awareness
North Brunswick Sentinel
by Deanna McLafferty
January 31, 2012
The Olive Osmond Perpetual Hearing Fund supports the N.J. School for the Deaf
SOUTH BRUNSWICK — Rosemary Ardolina, of South Brunswick, was watching “The Oprah Winfrey Show” when a particular segment caught her attention.
Marie Osmond sat on Oprah’s couch, detailing the unfortunate events surrounding her son Michael’s suicide. The episode was highly emotional and affected Ardolina greatly.
She decided to leave a comforting message on Marie Osmond’s Facebook page. There, she found a woman in the “People You May Know” corner who looked strangely familiar.
The woman, Kathy Lee Parker, turned out to be a radio personality from Utah, who, coincidentally, had recently interviewed Justin Osmond, nephew of Marie and son of The Osmonds’ lead singer, Merrill, for her station.
Osmond told Parker about his non-profit organization, the Olive Osmond Perpetual Hearing Fund, and that he was looking for people on the East Coast to take up the cause of promoting hearing-health awareness.
With this knowledge, Ardolina recruited her friend and neighbor Jill DeLuca and began raising money for the charity.
DeLuca has always had a passion for sign language, learning it from a friend in high school and becoming fluent when working as a Disney intern. She was a natural partner for Ardolina, and together they sponsored a 5K run at Johnson Park in Piscataway on Nov. 13.
Confident from the run’s success, the women started their own organization, Jersey’s Hope for Hearing. The organization will raise funds for those with hearing loss within the state.
DeLuca said the startup will first apply for grants that will give hearing aids to each student at the New Jersey School for the Deaf in Ewing.
“Alot of people don’t know that hearing aids are not covered by health insurance,” she said. “They are $6,000. How is a normal family supposed to afford that?”
DeLuca, Ardolina and six committee members are currently planning a gala event for Oct. 12. The event will include a silent auction, food and guest speakers. Merrill Osmond will attend the gala, and Dr. Angel Ramos, superintendent of the N.J. School for the Deaf, will speak. The gala takes place a day before a 5K run the following Saturday morning.
“We’ll have runners there and also people who just want to watch,” DeLuca said. “It will be carnival-themed, so there’s something for everyone.”
The event, and all subsequent fundraisers, will be held to better the lives of hearing impaired children, although DeLuca emphasized the admirable work being done by teachers and staff at the N.J. School for the Deaf.
“The school is amazing,” she said. “When you see the spirit and love these teachers have for these students, it’s amazing.”
DeLuca said the school requires more adequate funding, but a lack of knowledge concerning the school’s needs keeps that from becoming a reality. She hopes to remedy that problem with heightened hearing health awareness.
A dinner for potential auction sponsors is scheduled for March 2 at the N.J. School for the Deaf.