2013 Picnics and Events

2013 Ear Community Microtia and Atresia Summer Family Picnics

Ear Community hosts picnics every year around the world helping bring Microtia and Atresia families together.  This year’s picnics took place in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, and in Barcelona, Spain and in London England.  It was all very exciting!  We’ll had lots of fun entertainment for the kids (balloon makers, magicians, face painters, fire trucks, etc…).  Our Ear Community picnics always offer such a wonderful opportunity for Microtia and Atresia families to come together, share experiences with each other, and maybe even make a new friend.  Medical professionals such as world renown Microtia and Atresia repair surgeons, anaplastologists, ENTs, audiologists, and therapists along with hearing device companies all come together to mingle with us at our picnics, helping educate us on all of our options including hearing loss.   Our Los Angeles, CA picnic and our Barcelona, Spain Ear Community picnics were in collaboration with surgeon conferences this summer.

It was so great seeing so many of you again this summer and meeting so many of you who are new to our foundation, Ear Community!  See you next summer!

Melissa Tumblin,
Founder and Executive Director of Ear Community
Founder of the Microtia and Atresia Support Group on Facebook

AudiologyOnline – Webinar on Microtia and Aural Atresia
April 23, 2013 at 11AM Eastern Daylight Time
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Melissa Tumblin, Founder and Executive Director of Ear Community hosted a webinar session with AudiologyOnline discussing Microtia and Aural Atresia that took place on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 11AM Eastern Daylight Savings Time (9AM MDT).  This session can be found under course #22141 and is called “Microtia/Aural Atresia:  A Parent’s Perspective.”   This session is still FREE to anyone who wants to learn (parents, individuals with Microtia and Atresia, non-hearing loss professionals, teachers, etc…).  1 CEU contact hour was given to hearing loss professionals who take the quiz for this webinar.  This CEU accredited session was sponsored by Oticon Medical.  Oticon Medical is a proud supporter of Ear Community and its mission to help families with Microtia and Atresia.  This session was recorded live and will be audio recorded and podcasted.  This session has been archived and can be listened to at anytime at the following link:  http://www.audiologyonline.com/audiology-ceus/all/#/cp:oticon-medical .  AudiologyOnline is a recognized leader in online professional development and career center resources for audiologists and hearing care professionals worldwide.
For more information on AudiologyOnline, please visit:
http://www.audiologyonline.com/

Ear Community Picnic
Orlando, Florida

Date:  Saturday April 27th
Time:  11AM to 3PM

Ear Community Picnic
Columbus, Ohio

Date:  Saturday June 22nd
Time:  11AM to 3PM

EAA Conference
June 26th – June 29th
Scottsdale, Arizona
Montelucia Resort and Spa
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Melissa Tumblin, Founder and Executive Director of Ear Community, was a guest speaker at the Educational Audiology Association conference that was held in Scottsdale, Arizona on Friday, June 28th from 10AM to 11:30AM.   CEU credit was given for attending this course (1.5 hours).  This CEU accredited course is titled:  “Microtia and Atresia:  A Parent and Student Perspective” and was sponsored by the EAA.  The Educational Audiology Association is an international organization of Audiologists and related professionals who deliver a full spectrum of hearing services to all children, particularly those in educational settings.  The mission of the Educational Audiology Association is to act as the primary resource and as an active advocate for its members through its publications and products, continuing educational activities, networking opportunities, and other professional endeavors.  *  Educational audiologists are key advocates for our children and help our children through the educational system (school/classroom settings).  Thank you for what you do to help our deaf and hard of hearing kids EAA! – Melissa

For more details about the EAA, please click here:

Ear Community Picnic
London, England

Date:  Saturday June 29th
Time:  1PM to 5PM

Ear Community Picnic
Barcelona, Spain

Date:  Saturday July 6th
Time:  12:30PM to 3:30PM
*  This picnic was in collaboration with a surgeon conference hosted by Regenear, founded by Agata and Albert Geleberto.

Ear Community Picnic
Chicago, Illinois

Date:  Saturday July 13th
Time:  11AM to 3PM

Ear Community Picnic
Broomfield, Colorado

Date:  Saturday July 27th
Time:  11AM to 3PM
*  This is Ear Community’s headquarter picnic every year!

Ear Community Picnic
Los Angeles, California

Date:  Saturday August 10th
Time:  1PM to 5PM

*  Melissa Tumblin, Founder and Executive Director of Ear Community (and the Microtia and Atresia Support Group on Facebook) was honored to be a guest speak at this conference and presented about parent advocacy.  *  This picnic was in collaboration with the LAMAC (Los Angeles Microtia and Atresia Conference) hosted by Dr. Sheryl Lewin (Medpor), founder of Aesthetic Ear Reconstruction, http://microtiaearsurgery.com/

EAA, Educational Audiology Association – Webinar
Tuesday, October 15th from 12 noon to 1:30pm MDT
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The EAA sponsored a webinar that Melissa Tumblin presenting on the “Psychological Aspects and Current Options for Patients With Microtia and Atresia” on Tuesday, October 15th from 12PM Noon to 1:30PM (Colorado time/MDT).  This course was 1.5 hours in length and was worth .15 CEUs.  This course was archived and is available for purchase on CD ROM.  Please contact the EEA for details on this course or please visit the following link:  http://www.edaud.org/cde.cfm?event=416646   For more information about the EAA, please click here:

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2013
Orlando, Florida Picnic (USA)

On a beautiful Saturday in sunny Orlando, Florida on April 27th, we had a total of 175 people attend our Ear Community Microtia and Atresia Summer Family Picnic.  Families traveled from Georgia, Texas, New York, and Alabama to attend this picnic.  While the kids played, adults learned about their options such as how bone conduction hearing devices can help hearing loss due to Atresia.  Families also mingled with surgeons, anaplastologists, and therapists learning about reconstructive, prosthetic, and early intervention options.  Most importantly, everyone was able to come together and meet each other in a fun and relaxed environment.  We had an amazing strolling magician, who entertained the kids throughout our entire picnic.  Thank you Kevin from Fun Planners for making our kids laugh and intriguing them with magic.  We had an absolutely amazing artistic face painter who helped make our kids smile.  Thank you Carole from Fun Planners for your beautiful face painting skills.  I would like thank Cochlear Americas and Oticon Medical for sponsoring our picnic.  Without your sponsorship to Ear Community, we would not have been able to have our picnic location paid for, have the entertainment and delicious catered food we had for the families who attended, and your expertise on hearing loss and by bringing hearing devices that can help our children and adults who are deaf and hard of hearing.  Thank you Cochlear and Oticon Medical!  There were many children who were proud to wear their “Microtia Kids Rock” Ear Community T-shirts at our picnic.  They ran and played and blew bubbles.  The Dusti Heil family sent in a video of their son, Ashton, hearing for the very first time through a BAHA.  I was told the experience of seeing his son hear for the first time brought tears of joy to Ashton’s father’s eyes.  We also had many families experience what it was like to hear through bone conduction hearing devices (BAHAs) by putting them on and listening through them as well which is a wonderful way to learn and see what our children are hearing while wearing them.  We had the Chick-fil-A kid cow mascot at our picnic along with Chick-fil-A providing a delicious catered lunch for everyone.  Thank you to Mindy from Chick-fil-A for helping with everything.  Now, there were many people and companies involved with helping make our Ear Community Orlando picnic a huge success.  First, I would like to say a very special thank you to Clarissa LaFirst and her husband, Lenny, including her family for hosting our Orlando picnic.  I could not have had the Orlando picnic without you Clarissa!  Thank you for all of your hard work you put into our picnic, including the help your husband put in (carrying coolers and ice and bottles of water and making a state of the art donation box).  Clarissa has become a wonderful friend of mine over the past three years as our children are the same age and we met through my support group and have come so far together.  Thank you Clarissa for hosting and for your friendship!  Thank you to Sales Corp for donating 300 bottles of water for our picnic.  Thank you to Eagle Roofing for donating tons of bags of ice.  Thank you to Country Meats for donating two huge cases of beef jerky which were a hit with everyone!  Thank you to Target for donating part of the goodie bags.  A special thank you to Nicole Rivera, who is Clarissa’s son, Jackson’s, teacher and sitter who works at Target part time and who played a big part in the goodie bag donations from Target.  Clarissa is thankful to you for your help in watching Jackson and in helping man the fort and taking care of so many things for Clarissa while she was pulled in a million different directions.  Thank you for helping Clarissa!  Thank you to Kevin Goldstein at Far End Gear for donating almost 100 ear buds to our picnic attendees.  Far End Gear makes ear buds for one ear instead of the typical two like most ear bud manufacturers.  The ear buds were a special touch at our picnic for the children and adults with Microtia and Atresia. Thank you to everyone who purchased the “Microtia Kids Rock” T-shirts showing your support for our foundation and a special thank you to Matt Brozovich of Broz Design for volunteering his time for creating the cute “Microtia Kids Rock” image for our T-shirts.  Thank you also to Olive Garden for donating gift certificates for free kids meals for each child at our picnic.  Thank you to Winn Dixie Super Markets for donating the items that were in the goodie bags (fruit roll ups, cracker packs, and candy, etc…).  Thank you to Clarissa’s employer, Sumter Electric, for donating $100.00 that went toward the grapes, blueberries, and strawberries for the picnic, along with the serving trays for them.  Thank you also to Golden Flakes for donating 230 bags of potato chips for everyone at our picnic.  Clarissa would also like to say a special thank you to her husband, Lenny, for climbing hills in the park and lifting heavy tables and ice chests.  Lenny helped welcome all of the vendors and helped them setup.  He also helped point people in the right direction so they knew which doctors and therapists to speak with.  He even helped clean everything up.  Thank you Lenny!  I would also like to say a special thank you to Dr. Russell Griffiths for coming to our picnic and helping Clarissa hang up the Ear Community banner and set up.  I would also like to thank Dr. Grant Fairbanks and his wife Amy for being so kind and helping Clarissa out with everything too!  A special thank you to Dr. Sheryl Lewin, Dr. Reinisch, and Francesca Jahns for coming to our picnic and helping educate families on the facts about Medpor surgery.  A very special thank you to Linda Cox for attending our picnic.  Linda is a very dear friend of mine who is an educational audiologists.  She told me how she helped families learn about early intervention programs.  Linda was shocked at how many families did not know about early intervention programs, but she was thankful for my picnic so that these families could learn about their options.  Thank you to David Trainer who is an area anaplastologist in Florida who attended our picnic helping families understand the prosthetic ear option.  Thank you to the Kowtko family (Michelle and your two beautiful daughters) for helping clean up at the end of our picnic.  Thank you to everyone for making our Orlando Ear Community Picnic such a huge success!  Thank you to everyone who purchased the “Microtia Kids Rock” T-shirts showing your support for our foundation.

The following are some fun memories from our Orlando picnic:

2013
Columbus, Ohio Picnic (USA)

On June 22nd, 2013 Ear Community hosted its first picnic in Columbus, Ohio! It was a beautiful day and we had a wonderful turn out. About 200 people attended our picnic in Ohio including families from Florida, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, New York, Virginia, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Justin and Katie Bays hosted our Ear Community Microtia and Atresia Summer Family Picnic, whom I have had the opportunity of knowing for the past two years after meeting them at an Oticon Medical Patient Advocacy conference in 2011. Justin is also one of Ear Community’s Board of Director members. It is always incredible to see family’s come together and share experiences with each other and watch the kids play together. I had received a handful of thank you letters from some of the families stating how they were very emotional at the beginning of the picnic only to leave with a smile at the end realizing what a relief it was to meet others in the same situation and learn about all of their options. There were many tears of joy as families watched on while children were given the chance to try on bone conduction hearing devices allowing them to hear for the very first time through both ears.  We even had a good handful of adults and teens with Microtia and Atresia at our picnic and they were all able to meet up and share their experiences and stories.  We had an amazing strolling magician at our picnic who entertained the kids and parents too! Thank you David McCreary at Class Acts for being such a fun magician at our picnic! A special thank you to Abby, our amazing face painter who helped put smiles on all of the kids’ faces at our picnic! Abby is a member of the same church that Justin attends and volunteered to decorate everyone’s faces and she is only 16 years old! Thank you Abby! A very special thank you to Cochlear and Oticon Medical for helping make our Columbus picnic possible as both Cochlear and Oticon Medical are Platinum sponsors for Ear Community and love being a part of all of Ear Community’s picnics.  Thank you to Kevin Goldstein at Far End Gear for donating almost 100 ear buds to our picnic attendees.  Far End Gear makes ear buds for one ear instead of the typical two like most ear bud manufacturers.  The ear buds were a special touch at our picnic for the children and adults with Microtia and Atresia. Thank you to everyone who purchased the “Microtia Kids Rock” T-shirts showing your support for our foundation and a special thank you to Matt Brozovich of Broz Design for volunteering his time for creating the cute “Microtia Kids Rock” image for our T-shirts.  Thank you to Dr. Russell Griffiths and Dr. Grant Fairbanks for traveling from Idaho and Utah to be with us at our picnic and to help educate families about Rib Graft and Medpor surgery. The families learned a lot from you and were able to understand the options for both Rib Graft and Medpor ear reconstruction. Thank you to Chick-fil-A for catering a delicious lunch for our picnic too. We even had Channel 4 News show up at our picnic where they interviewed both Justin and I about what Ear Community is doing to make a difference in the Microtia and Atresia community. The news clip that aired at 11pm on the night of the picnic, Saturday, June 22nd, was nicely done and got the point across about Microtia and Atresia.

Justin’s entire family came to our picnic to support him as the picnic host! It was such a pleasure to have met Justin’s mom, Cheryl, and sister, Callie, and family. Justin and Katie weren’t sure how Justin’s mom would react during our picnic as this was the first time in 33 years that she was able to meet so many other parents and children born with Microtia and Atresia. Turns out, Cheryl had an amazing time and told some amazing and fun stories about Justin as he has grown up. Thank you Justin and Katie for also allowing me to stay at your home while visiting Ohio. Thank you for your hospitality and taking me on a little site seeing trip while staying with you both! Justin’s life story can also be found on Ear Community’s website at the following link:  http://earcommunity.org/microtiaatresia/emotional-support/life-stories/justin-bs-story/ helping many to realize that you can be anything and do anything you want, even with little ears and hearing loss. Justin went to college on a tennis scholarship and he continues to teach tennis lessons. I think Justin is amazing and I am so proud of him and happy to have him as a role model for my own daughter, Ally. Thank you Justin and family for your hard work in organizing our Ohio Ear Community picnic!

2013
London, England Picnic (UK)

On June 29th, 2013, the Ear Community Foundation helped bring together more than 100 people at its first Microtia and Atresia Family Summer Picnic in London, England. Hana Salussolia has become a wonderful friend of the organization’s founder, Melissa Tumblin, over the past three years as both of our children are about the same age and both have Microtia and Atresia. Two years ago, Ear Community’s founder had asked Hana if she and her family would be interested in hosting an Ear Community picnic in London for Microtia and Atresia families (including Goldenhar, Hemifacial Microsomia, and Treacher Collins families). On June 29th of this year, on a beautiful day at Corams Fields near GOSH in London, Hana, her husband Mike, and their son Louis hosted our Ear Community picnic. Everyone enjoyed the day, coming together and sharing experiences while watching the kids run around and play together. It was a day to remember by all and a memory that will last for many years to come as many families had not met other families before who are just like them and in the same situation. We had families attend from the UK area including some from Ireland and Poland. The kids enjoyed getting their faces painted and enjoyed the entertainment of balloon makers and enjoyed a delicious catered lunch. Ear Community’s Founder, Melissa Tumblin, says “One of my favorite parts of Ear Community’s Foundation is the picnics that we host all over the world. The moments of seeing families carrying on and children playing together, realizing that they are not alone with Microtia and Atresia bring a tear to my eye every time. Especially, when I see the surprised look on a child’s face as they try on a hearing device for the very first time and hear what life sounds like. It’s absolutely amazing.” A special thank you to Hana, Mike, and Louis for taking the time to organize our London Ear Community picnic and for putting some special touches on our picnic such as ordering a cake to have for everyone because it was one little boy’s birthday on the day of our picnic and for ordering some Ear Community bracelets for the families, including finding a photographer who was happy to donate her time taking our picnic’s photos after learning more about Microtia and Atresia.

Each Ear Community picnic always includes some of the world’s most reputable plastic surgeons, ENT surgeons, audiologists, and anaplastologists in the industry. As part of helping families and individuals learn about all of their options, our first London Ear Community picnic included some of the world’s best surgeons and medical professionals. Our London Ear Community picnic welcomed the attendance of Dr. John Reinisch (a US surgeon who is the pioneer of the Medpor ear reconstructive surgery technique). Dr. Neil Bulstrode along with Dr. Ken Stewart (two of the UK’s top Rib Graft ear reconstructive surgeons) were happy to mingle with families at our picnic helping answer their questions. Catriona Moffatt also attended our London Ear Community picnic as a medical professional helping provide information on the psychological aspects of Microtia and Atresia. A very special thank you to Dr. Reinisch, Dr. Bulstrode, Dr. Stewart and Clinical Psychologist, Catriona Moffatt for being a part of our Ear Community picnic.

Ear Community picnics would not be possible without sponsorship help from Cochlear and Oticon Medical (two of the world’s leading hearing device manufactures). Families who attended our London picnic were able to try on and listen through Cochlear BP100 and Oticon Medical Ponto Pro bone conduction hearing devices. It is such a benefit to involve hearing device companies at our picnics because they also help educate families and individuals about hearing loss. Families and individuals with Microtia and Atresia are also given the opportunity to learn more about hearing devices that are currently available that can potentially help them live a better quality of life by simply hearing better. A special thank you to both Cochlear and Oticon Medical for wanting to be a part of our charity foundation helping individuals born with Microtia and Atresia across the world. Thank you also for the amazing technology that you have created that can help our loved ones hear better due to their Atresia, resulting in hearing loss. Thank you to Tim Swaysland of Oticon Medical and Jayne Spencer and Mariska Alexander of Cochlear for taking the time to be at part of our picnic and helping educate families about BAHA technology. Below are some images from our London Ear Community picnic:

2013
Barcelona, Spain Picnic

On July 4th, 2013, Ear Community hosted its first Microtia and Atresia summer family picnic in Barcelona, Spain. Ear Community’s Founder, Melissa Tumblin, asked one of her support group members, Agata Gelaberto, if she and her family would be interested in hosting a Microtia and Atresia picnic in Spain and with great excitement, Agata and her family accepted. The Founder of Ear Community and the Gelaberto’s have developed a friendship over the past couple of years because of Microtia and Atresia bringing them together through their daughters. Our Barcelona Ear Community picnic took place on a beautiful sunny summer day at the Sant Joan deDeu Hospital campus where about 200 attendees joined together to share experiences and learn about their options regarding Microtia and Atresia. Our Barcelona Ear Community picnic was also in collaboration with a medical conference that Agata worked very hard at organizing along with her organization, Regenear, which is a biomedical company that she and her husband, Albert, formed in hopes of regenerating ear cartilage some day for ear reconstructive surgery. Families attended our picnic and medical conference from all over Spain. Families were given the chance to meet for the first time and to have their children come together and play with other children who all have Microtia and Atresia.

Ear Community would like to thank Agata and Albert Gelaberto for the time they put into organizing this amazing family event. Dr.s Francisco Parri and Antonia Claveria (Microtia repair surgeons) both presented along side Agata helping educate about Microtia and Atresia and the options that are available for these children and adults. Thank you Dr. Parri and Dr. Claveria for being a part of our picnic/conference. A special thank you to the Sant Joan deDeu Hospital staff for donating their time for daycare for all of these beautiful children during our event and also for the hospital donating its campus as the location for our event. A special thank you to Cochlear and Oticon Medical as our picnics would not be possible without the help of their sponsorship. Families benefit at Ear Community picnics by learning about their options for their children (and as adults with Microtia and Atresia). Knowing about the option of a hearing device can help individuals with hearing loss live a better quality of life. Ear Community wishes to thank Cochlear and Oticon Medical for helping educate families about bone conductive hearing devices and about hearing loss. Thank you to the distributor Suministros Hospitalarios SA for representing Cochlear and thank you to Xavier Pareja for representing Oticon Medical at our event. Thank you also to the many volunteers who helped make this day an amazing day for all of these families. The following images are some wonderful memories from our Barcelona Ear Community Microtia and Atresia Summer Family Picnic. Thank you especially to Agata, Albert, and Andrea Geleberto for hosting our Ear Community picnic in Barcelona. Gracias!  – Melissa

2013
Chicago, Illinois Picnic (USA)

On Saturday, July 13th, 2013, Ear Community hosted its 1st Chicago, Illinois Microtia and Atresia Summer Family Picnic at Busse Forest in Rolling Meadows. It was an absolutely gorgeous summer day. We had close to 200 people attend, including six of the world’s best Microtia ear reconstructive surgeons, and three world class anaplastologists.  Families traveled surrounding states to be at our Chicago picnic such as New York, New Jersey, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.  The Siskoff family (Tina, Bill, Elyssa, and Mia) was asked to host this picnic for Ear Community one year ago. In fact, Tina Siskoff is one of Ear Community’s Board of Director members. As the Founder of Ear Community, “I enjoyed this Chicago picnic the most this summer.” said Melissa Tumblin. It truly was amazing at how the community came together for this picnic. Families were so willing to share their experiences. Courtney, one of Kohl’s area stores managers sent (10) volunteers to help out at our picnic. Courtney has Microtia and Atresia and was delighted to discover Ear Community. Our picnic host, Tina, found an amazing baker who donated some amazingly delicious and creative cupcakes to our picnic for the families. Thank you Christie’s Cupcakes for your yummy donation!  Bottles of water were donated by Costco. McDonalds donated some FREE dessert give-a-way cards for the kids. Thank you to Kevin Goldstein at Far End Gear for donating almost 100 ear buds to our picnic attendees. Far End Gear makes ear buds for one ear instead of the typical two like most ear bud manufacturers. The ear buds were a special touch at our picnic for the children and adults with Microtia and Atresia. Thank you to everyone who purchased the “Microtia Kids Rock” T-shirts showing your support for our foundation and a special thank you to Matt Brozovich of Broz Design for volunteering his time for creating the cute “Microtia Kids Rock” image for our T-shirts.  Thank you also to Costco for donating gift cards to our foundation so we could provide bottle water for families on this beautiful, but hot summer day.

I would like to say a very special thank you to the surgeons who attended our Chicago Ear Community picnic helping these families learn about their surgical options. Thank you to Dr. Arturo Bonilla, Dr. Ronald Eavey, Dr. Grant Fairbanks, Dr. Russell Griffiths, (all Rib Graft surgeons) and Dr. John Reinisch and Dr. Sheryl Lewin (Medpor surgeons) for sharing our fun day with us. We also had three highly skilled anaplastologists at our Chicago picnic. Greg Gion of Medical Art Prosthetics and Julie Jordan Brown and Megan Thomas of Medical Art Resources all attended and helped educate everyone on the option for a prosthetic ear. I am always amazed, every time, when I see how realistic a prosthetic ear looks. Julie and Megan brought one of their patients with them, named Annie, who was absolutely amazing! Annie helped educate everyone about her experience wearing a prosthetic ear. Annie showed everyone how she removes her ear and how she applies her ear. We had many families who were able to speak with each other regarding reconstructive surgery and see results of reconstructed ears through the families who have already completed this part of their journey with Microtia and Atresia. I just love seeing people learn and become reassured about the options and potential decisions that they are faced with in life regarding hearing loss (Atresia) and Microtia. This picnic was truly one big happy family. Out of all of the picnics that have been hosted through Ear Community over the past three years, this picnic was my favorite – Melissa Tumblin.

Ear Community is truly thankful for its sponsors and thankful for the partnerships ad relationships that it has within the medical device industry. Ear Community would like to especially thank Cochlear Americas, Oticon Medical, and Phonak for helping sponsor our Chicago Ear Community picnic. Families were able to learn about the Cochlear BP100 and Oticon Medical Ponto Pro bone conduction hearing devices. Families were also able to learn about the Phonak FM System which can help children hear better in a classroom setting. Seeing the tears of joy from children and parents who try on these hearing devices for the very first time at an Ear Community picnic because they haven’t been informed about them is such an amazing experience. Thank you to Gayle Anderson and Carrie Cunniffe of Cochlear Americas for helping educate about the BP100 Baha 3 along with Vibe, the Baha Moose putting smiles on the kids (and adult’s) faces!  Thank you to Lindzee Weeks of Oticon Medical for helping educate about the Ponto Pro and to Erin Robison of Phonak for helping educate our families about hearing loss and how an FM system can help. Thank you everyone for making all of our picnics such a warm and inviting event and for so many wonderful unforgettable memories with our children and loved ones who have Microtia and Atresia.

2013
Broomfield, Colorado Picnic (USA)

On Saturday, July 27th, 2013, Melissa Tumblin, Founder of Ear Community, hosted her 3rd Annual Ear Community Microtia and Atresia Summer Family Picnic in Broomfield, Colorado. On this beautiful summer day, over 200 people attended our headquarter picnic including seven surgeons and one anaplastologist. We had tons of fun for the kids anywhere from hula hoops, to bean bag toss games, with face painting and balloon making and a magician. We even had a singer/musician entertaining us with family music. Thank you Ron, for playing and singing such great music for our families during our picnic! This year at our picnic, I put together over 100 goody bags for the kids which contained fun entertainment items, candy, and complimentary coupon gift cards from McDonalds, TGIFridays, and Olive Garden. Families who attended were able to mingle with other families in the same situation and have the kids play with each other while learning about their options for Microtia and Atresia in a relaxed, low stress environment. Many people came together to help me make sure our picnic was a success. I would like to thank the following individuals for their help and support at our Colorado picnic: thank you to my best friend, John Connor, not just for always supporting me in what I do for the community, but for also helping donate items to our picnic. John works for Creager Mercantile and this family run business donated 200 bottles of water for our picnic and all of the candy and toys for the goody bags for the kids. Thank you to the Creager family and Larry Dubois, Creager’s store manager for wanting to help make our special day amazing for all who attended. Thank you to my neighbors, Cheray McGlaughlin and Vivian Langton for helping man the Ear Community table and help make sure everyone received their T-shirts. Thank you to Annie and Scott Smith for helping us with the Ear Community table and for blocking off room for our fire engine. Thank you so much to the family who helped hang the Ear Community banners and for helping take them down!!! You have no idea how much this helped me. Thank you as always to my husband, Brent and his mom, Nancy…my mother-in-law, for helping watch our girls so I can focus on the families at our picnic each year. Thank you to the Thornton Costco for donating gift cards so I could provide juice boxes for the kids. Thank you to the Broomfield Fire Department for stopping by with the fire engine for the kids. Thank you to Dean Laws (owner of the Broomfield Chick-fil-A store) and Brianna for making our day absolutely amazing! Chick-fil-A not only displayed a delicious lunch for all of us, but they provided fun games with gift cards who won at those games. Chick-fil-A provided the cow mascot and table cloths and more! Everyone who helped out in each way helped make our 3rd Annual Colorado Microtia and Atresia picnic a special day for all. Thank you so much and I apologize if I have left someone out….just remind me and I will gladly add you and recognize you.

Thank you to Kevin Goldstein at Far End Gear for donating almost 100 ear buds to our picnic attendees. Far End Gear makes ear buds for one ear instead of the typical two like most ear bud manufacturers. The ear buds were a special touch at our picnic for the children and adults with Microtia and Atresia. Thank you to everyone who purchased the “Microtia Kids Rock” T-shirts showing your support for our foundation and a special thank you to Matt Brozovich of Broz Design for volunteering his time for creating the cute “Microtia Kids Rock” image for our T-shirts. Thank you to Miss Kitty and Friends Entertainment for providing our face painting and balloon making for the kids. Thank you to Keir Royale, our super fun magician, who was able to save our day and attend our picnic at the last minute due to a family emergency with our previous booked magician. You saved the day for our event.

A very special thank you to the surgeons who attended this year’s Colorado Ear Community Microtia and Atresia Summer Family Picnic (and all the previous years as well). Thank you to Dr. Arturo Bonilla, Dr. Grant Fairbanks, Dr. Russell Griffiths (all Rib Graft surgeons) and Dr. John Reinisch and Dr. Sheryl Lewin (Medpor surgeons) for being a part of our picnic and to help these families understand the facts and options for reconstructive surgery. Thank you to Dr. Andrew Winkler for attending our picnic. Dr. Winkler is an ENT who implants BAHA products, but also works closely with Cochlear Vistafix products regarding prosthetic ears at the University of Colorado’s Medical Center. Thank you to Barb Lillo for attending our picnic. Barb is not only an amazing anaplastologist here in Colorado, but Barb’s father is known as the founding father of anaplastology. Thank you also to Cochlear Americas and Oticon Medical for sponsoring our Colorado picnic and all of our Ear Community picnics! Thank you to Wendy Fuller and Vibe, the mascot Baha Moose for making our day fun for the kids from Cochlear and thank you to Alan Raffauf and Nancy Plant for being there for us on behalf of Oticon Medical. I especially would like to thank all of the families who traveled from so many states to be with us at our Colorado Ear Community picnic. We had families from Florida, Kentucky, Idaho, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, California, including Mexico just to name a few.  I am looking forward to seeing everyone again, including new families next summer! – Melissa

2013
Los Angeles, California Picnic (USA)

On Saturday, August 10th, 2013, Ear Community hosted its 2nd California Ear Community Microtia and Atresia Summer Family Picnic, but this time in Los Angeles (previously hosted in Pleasanton, CA). This year, the Los Angeles Ear Community Picnic was held in collaboration with the Los Angeles Microtia Atresia Conference (LAMAC) hosted by Dr. Sheryl Lewin. Families enjoyed attending both the Microtia conference and the Ear Community picnic. Dr. Sheryl Lewin inivted Melissa Tumblin, Founder of Ear Community, as one of the guest speakers, speaking about advocacy during the conference along side additional medical professional speakers including Dr. Brad Kesser and Dr. Arturo Bonilla. Families who attended the Let Them Hear Foundation’s conference in the Anehim area, hosted by Dr. Joseph Roberson and organized by Tracy Scandlyn (in collaboration with CEI), also joined us, together, at the Ear Community picnic at the Terranea Resort. Families were able to meet other families and share experiences, just as they do at all of our Ear Community picnics, and be given the chance to gather information about their options directly from the medical professionals who attended our picnic.  It is always amazing to have nonprofit organizations come together within the community to help put on these events.  The Los Angeles Ear Community picnic was made possible by Ear Community and Earicles – Miracles for Ears, Dr. Lewin’s nonprofit foundation.  Dr. Roberson’s nonprofit foundation, the Let Them Hear Foundation, also helped donate toward our events.

I would like to thank Anel Herrera and her beautiful daughter, Alysa, including her family for hosting our Los Angeles Ear Community Microtia picnic. Anel and her family attended our Pleasanton Ear Community picnic last year and has become a friend of mine over the past three years. I would like to thank the Terranea Resort for helping us find the amazing entertainment for the families who attended our Ear Community picnic. Entertainment included face painting, dancing and singing, a strolling magician, and an amazing rare and endangered birds of prey expert where the kids were able to see an owl and falcon. A very special thank you to Al Torrico and his photography partner, Sandy Grasso, for volunteering their time to shoot the picnic and the conference. Al and his beautiful wife,Yoivel, have been friends of mine for the past two years as we have children who both have Microtia and Atresia in common and Al told me that he wanted to give back to the Microtia community and had the opportunity to do so by helping out by offering to take pictures during our picnic and conference. Thank you for your help Al, and also to Yoivel for helping volunteer at the Ear Community table during our picnic. Thank you to Kevin Goldstein at Far End Gear for donating almost 100 ear buds to our picnic attendees. Far End Gear makes ear buds for one ear instead of the typical two like most ear bud manufacturers. The ear buds were a special touch at our picnic for the children and adults with Microtia and Atresia. Thank you to everyone who purchased the “Microtia Kids Rock” T-shirts showing your support for our foundation and a special thank you to Matt Brozovich of Broz Design for volunteering his time for creating the cute “Microtia Kids Rock” image for our T-shirts.

I would like to say a very special thank you to all of the medical professionals who attended our Ear Community picnic, who believe in our Ear Community foundation and in supporting our cause for Microtia and Atresia. The following medical professionals attended our LA Picnic: Dr. Sheryl Lewin and Dr. John Reinish (Medpor surgeon), Dr. Arturon Bonilla, Dr. Grant Fairbanks, Dr. Roland Eavey (Rib Graft surgeons), Dr. Joseph Roberson and Dr. Brad Kesser (ENT/Otologists/Neurotologists). In addition to the attending surgeons, we also had two amazing anaplastologists, Stefan Knauss and Gina Cohen of Aesthetic Prosthetics helped educate families on the prosthetic option. I would also like to thank Cochlear Americas and Oticon Medical for sponsoring our Ear Community picnic. It is very important for families and their children/adults to learn as much about hearing loss as they can, including being able to try on the very hearing devices that may improve their quality of life, offering them the option to hear better. Thank you to Maeve Brown of Cochlear Americas for being at our picnic and educating families on the BP100 Baha 3, including her husband who was Vibe the Baha Moose. Thank you very much to Corey Brackmann and Rebecca Cihocki of Oticon Medical for being a part of our picnic and helping educate families on the Ponto Pro.

 

 

Thanks so much,
Melissa Tumblin
Founder and Executive Director of Ear Community
Founder of the Microtia and Atresia Support Group on Facebook

 

 

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