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Awareness continues for overcoming deafness

Awareness continues for overcoming deafness; children and adults

Auckland, 27 July 2009 - On July 29 the Pindrop Foundation and The Hearing House will host a joint art and wine fundraiser to raise awareness and funds for cochlear implants.

Approximately 400,000 New Zealanders have hearing loss of some kind, and 4,000 of these could benefit from a cochlear implant. However, most hearing impaired New Zealanders are not aware that bionic ears exist.

Bionic ears cost $50,000 each. Fifty cochlear implants; 20 adults and 30 children, are funded by the Government each year, with around 120 adults on the public waiting list.

“Having a cochlear implant is completely life changing. Bionic ears allow you to re-connect with your family and friends and it touches every aspect of your life in a positive way. We want to make sure other children and adults can enjoy life the way I’ve been able to,” says Elena Keith, Pindrop Foundation PR and Fundraising Manager and recipient of a cochlear implant.

The Hearing House CEO, Mr Scott Johnston says, “Early intervention is critical, and intensive audiological and habilitation (Auditory-Verbal Therapy) services are required for speech to become a reality.

“The Hearing House relies on charitable donations to provide its services to deaf children and adults, so we are always in need of community funding and support,” says Mr Scott.

Awareness of cochlear implants is gaining momentum with this being the third year the fundraising event is going ahead. This year the event will feature a special guest- speaker, eight-year-old Alison Winstanley. Ali is profoundly deaf and would be unable to hear and speak if it wasn’t for her cochlear implant which she received as a 14-month-old.

Elena Keith is optimistic about raising money in the current economic climate. “We’ve come from absolutely nothing a couple a years ago, with limited awareness and no patronage. Now the event is in its third year. We’ve got the most wonderful and supportive collection of sponsors, we can only go up from here.”

On the night, Webb’s Auctioneers will be auctioning off rare and fine wines from Felton Road, Cloudy Bay, Grasshopper Rock, Man O’ War Winery and Martinborough Estate and prints by Max Gimblett. The Pindrop Foundation’s Art of Hearing collection will feature some of New Zealand’s best known artists including limited edition prints by Shane Cotton, Robert Ellis, Jacqueline Fahey, Dick Frizzell, Sara Hughes, Judy Millar, John Pule, Kate Small and Denys Watkins.

The limited edition prints are normally $750 each, but on the night will be available at a discount to all those who attend. There is also a range of wines starting at $120 per case up to $500 per case from the Wine Wall.

For the wine aficionados there will be some much sought after wines such as the mixed case of Felton Road wines which has been sourced from the Felton Road library.

“It is extremely difficult to get hold of these wines and they are expected to fetch a premium on the night” says Jeff Poole, from The Fine Wine Delivery Company.

The Pindrop Foundation’s Art of Hearing collection of limited edition prints was made possible with the assistance of Hamish Keith.

“Art is largely a business of the senses so artists have considerable sympathy for those who are disabled. The artists who have contributed to these two print series know very deeply what a gift the gift of hearing is,” says Hamish Keith.

Boutique Technology and IP law firm Hudson Gavin Martin are also supporting the event. “We’ve been really impressed by what Pindrop is trying to achieve and its philosophy of enablement when it comes to adult deafness. We operate in the technology sector so for us it’s wonderful to see how the cochlear implants change people’s lives,” says Mark Gavin.

“It's great to be able to support organisations that enable people to regain their independence. Having personal experience with both extreme hearing loss and deafness, I know the freedom that cochlear implant technology and the support that these two organisations provide is invaluable to our community,” says sponsor Gideon Keith from the creative agency, Seven.

“Sky City Community Trust has also been another supportive sponsor and we are very grateful for its help with making the Pindrop Foundation a reality,” says Elena Keith.


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