On Saturday, July 21, 2012, I hosted our 2nd Annual Summer Picnic for Microtia and Atresia families (including Goldenhar Syndrome, Treacher Collins, and Hemifacial Microsomia families). Our Colorado Picnic was a huge success! Even though it was 100 degrees, we had close to 200 people attend (almost double the amount of people from last year’s picnic). It was a wonderful day! Thank you so much to Cochlear, Oticon Medical, and Sophono for proudly sponsoring our picnic again this year. Without our sponsors, our picnics would not be the wonderful picnics they have become. I would not be able to put smiles on our little kids faces without your help and by giving back to the Microtia and Atresia community through Ear Community and making it fun for everyone. Cochlear (www.cochlear.com) and the Hands & Voices Organization (www.handsandvoices.org) sponsored our magician for the kids. “Magic Rob” made the kids laugh and did a wonderful job entertaining them. Magic Rob was a perfect fit for our picnic as he also happens to wear a hearing aid. Oticon Medical (www.oticonmedical.com) proudly sponsored our delicious lunch and drinks for all, including sponsoring our beautiful park location in the lovely city of Broomfield, and the super fun jumpy castle for the kids. Everyone enjoyed having a nice lunch while meeting one another and the kids had a blast in the jumpy castle with each other. Sophono (www.sophono.com) proudly sponsored our face painter and balloon maker for the kids in which both lines never ran short with these two fun activities. Families mingled with both Dr. Sheryl Lewin (www.microtiaearsurgery.com) and her family and Dr. Russell Griffiths (www.earreconstructionspecialist.com). Families learned more about hearing loss and about Cochlear, Oticon, and Sophono options for sound processors. In fact, we had one little boy hear through a sound processor for the very first time and my daughter’s speech pathologist happened to be standing by him and she asked him “well, how does it sound?” and he whipped his head around with a big smile and said he liked it. I enjoy hearing that someone at our picnic discovered a new option…this is what education is all about for us and knowing what our options are. We had early intervention therapists on site with us including my daughter, Ally’s, speech therapist, Linda. I was unable to get an anaplastologist (prosthetic expert) at our picnic this time, but next year I’ll hope for one to make it. Police officers Hiatt and Abram spoke to the kids about safety and gave the kids a tour of the police car with badges, stickers, and tattoos. The Build-A-Bear mascot visited us and posed for pictures with the kids. Thank you Build-A-Bear for also donating a teddy bear which was raffled off to a very lucky boy at our picnic. A special thank you to Jordan Fink and Carrie Jones of Jordan Fink Photography (www.jordanfinkphotography.com) for donating their time to be our professional photographers at our picnic so we can always remember our 2nd Annual Colorado Microtia and Atresia Picnic! Over 300 photos were taken of our amazing picnic on Saturday. I could not have managed to take the quality of photos you took and manage the picnic at the same time. I met Jordan and Carrie at a Chamber of Commerce Small Business Event just two weeks before our picnic. They are new in town and were looking to give back to someone in the community and I happened to meet them at this chamber event. I guess you could say that it was meant to be! Thank you to Costco too for donating our two sheet cakes, juice boxes, and bottled water. Thank you to my best friend, John Connor, who donated a case of fruit twists for the kids. We also shared a moment of silence to think about the hundreds of families who have been displaced from their homes because of the fires our state has experienced and especially the families who were involved in the tragic shooting at the theater in Aurora, CO just two days ago. I am continually amazed at the support I have received in making these picnics possible and for all of the families and individuals who support me as well by coming together at our picnics, showing me that we all want to meet one another and share experiences. Even though I feel that I never have enough time to meet each and everyone of you at our picnics or have to cut our conversations short to make sure everything is running smoothly, I always have a wonderful time and I enjoy meeting so many of you. It is so nice to meet everyone from our support group and to meet the families that I have been able to speak with over the phone. I am especially happy to always see both kids and adults with Microtia and Atresia attend our picnic, no matter whether surgery was a decision or the decision was to keep those beautiful little ears. It is about coming together and learning from each other and having some role models for both the kids and the parents. I love you all and look forward to seeing you at all of our picnics every year!
Thank you for making our picnic the success that it was once again!
Founder of Ear Community and the Microtia and Atresia Support Group on Facebook