On Wednesday, November 9th, 2016, the Ear Community Organization launched and celebrated the very first National Microtia Awareness Day that took place throughout the United States. Families from all over were truly excited to finally have a national day to celebrate, helping promoting awareness and education about Microtia and Atresia. In fact, many amazing moments took place on this special day for families and individuals with Microtia and Atresia everywhere! Hundreds of children and adults, with their families, submitted pictures online in their National Microtia Awareness Day t-shirts and/or wearing blue and black, celebrating and helping promote awareness. Many changed their online profile pictures to our awareness ribbon and blogged on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Not only did we have families celebrate from many countries all over world….Israel, Indonesia, Malaysia, Denmark, Mexico, Poland, Ireland, China, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the UK just to name a few, but many children shared a newfound confidence where they got up in front of their classrooms and talked about their ears and their hearing loss (while wearing their Microtia Awareness Day t-shirts) and explained why having an awareness day was so important to them. Parents brought in treats to their children’s schools such as blue awareness cupcakes and frosted cookies. Some families with newborns affected by Microtia and Atresia found hope and a sense of belongingness that helped them finally feel comfortable enough to tell their families and friends about their child having Microtia and Atresia without worry or concern. There were also a series of group gatherings that took place with Microtia and Atresia families coming together to celebrate on our special day. Many hearing device companies such as Cochlear Americas, Medtronic – Sophono, and Oticon Medical, socially blogged about National Microtia Awareness Day, celebrating in their offices and educating employees more about hearing loss and Microtia. Medical device companies such as Stryker CMF, and medical facilities such as Johns Hopkins University, ReconstratA, and Vanderbilt University, also celebrated National Microtia Awareness Day by either dedicating a webpage about Microtia on their websites or tweeting about this special day. Many plastic surgeons helped promote awareness and education about Microtia and Atresia by posting educational information about surgical options on their websites as well.
In a press release by National Day Calendar, Melissa Tumblin, Founder of the Ear Community Organization, explains that “Approximately one child in every 9,000 (in the United States) is born with Microtia (when the ear(s) do not fully develop during the 1st trimester of pregnancy). Often affecting one ear or both ears, Microtia is diagnosed at birth, but there is no understanding as to why Microtia occurs. Facial challenges, hearing loss and the longing for social acceptance are some of the daily concerns for those who are born with Microtia. “Children are born into this world not knowing they are any different from anyone else. Many with Microtia share similar stories of curious stares, bullying, or awkwardness. Individual personalities, social conditioning, available treatments and bullying all impact how every child develops and copes as an adult. By removing unnecessary boundaries and replacing them with resources, tools, and support, we can eliminate bullying and clear the way for an even more successful future.”
November 9th is dedicated to spreading hope and knowledge concerning a congenital birth defect, which derives its name from the Latin terms for little ears. Mark the calendar for Microtia Awareness Day for November 9th and think of the number 9 as the shape of an ear. In an interview with AudiologyOnline, Tumblin was asked “Why was it so important to have a national awareness day created? Tumblin stated, “It is the intention of Microtia Awareness Day to help promote public awareness. As the mother of a child who has microtia, and the founder of Ear Community, my hope is that families who have new babies born with microtia will leave the hospital armed with more answers than questions, and their dreams for their children intact. I think that if more people learn about microtia and atresia, that they will be kinder and more accepting. It is also my intention for anyone who is born without an ear(s) to realize that they are not alone. Through this national day, they can find out about organizations and resources for information and support.” Since 2010, the Ear Community Organization has brought over 6,500 people together from around the world at the organization’s events making it possible to share experiences and resources. The community is made up of not only children and adults with Microtia and their families, but teachers, advocates, and medical professionals from around the world who foster awareness and assistance for this amazing group of people. Board members for Ear Community either have the condition themselves or a family member who does, so they have close personal experience with the obstacles from a myriad of perspectives.
Many people came together to help make our National Microtia Awareness Day possible. Not only did we have three short weeks to organize a celebration after receiving news of obtaining our national awareness day, but there was a tremendous amount of passion and support from others that helped make our celebratory day even more special. Three graphic designers donated their time to help bring our cause and our Microtia Awareness ribbon to life! Thank you to Michelle Cowan of Colorado for helping design one of our “celebrate with us” ad logos for our special day! Thank you to Del Rocha of MaxMediaDenver for designing our new website banner for our Ear Community website! We love it! Thank you! A very special thank you to Mark Johnson of Florida who helped design our official Microtia Awareness ribbon and the layout for our awareness t-shirts! Mark’s daughter, Eva, has Microtia and Atresia and it was very important to the Tumblin Family and the Ear Community Organization to have a true passion behind the meaning of our awareness ribbon, especially being designed by a loving Microtia family. Thank you Mark! A very special thank you to Jeff Norman of MaxMediaDenver who not only donated his time and services for graphic design with Del Rocha, but Jeff’s media office also created and made a national commercial about Microtia and Atresia for the Ear Community Organization that went out over various radio stations in cities throughout the United States during the two week span leading up to our National Microtia Awareness Day on the 9th of November. Thank you so very much for your support Jeff and MaxMediaDenver and for helping us promote awareness about Microtia and Atresia! Thank you to Robert Valdez, one of Ear Community’s Board of Director Members, for putting Ear Community in touch with Jeff Norman of MaxMediaDenver! Thank you to Cindy Bader of “Sweet Cakes” bakery for making our day even sweeter with awareness cupcakes on our special day for Ally and Hailey’s classrooms. A very special thank you to Dr. Arturo Bonilla, who not only is one of the most skilled Rib Graft outer ear reconstructive surgeons in the United States for Microtia repair, but Dr. Bonilla is also the owner of www.CausaTees.com, the t-shirt store that Ear Community’s National Awareness Microtia t-shirts were printed by and shipped from to everyone! Dr. Bonilla started CausaTees for his niece, Naty, who has Lupus. Naty wanted to have a business where she could be able to give back. At CausaTees, for every t-shirt ordered, $2 gets donated back to either Lupus or Cancer foundations. With the $2 from every t-shirt, Naty is able to purchase blankets that she enjoys bringing to children at Children’s Hospitals who get cold when their temperature drops during chemotherapy treatment or when having a blood transfusion. Ear Community was happy to help Naty give back and to also give back and be able to support two other great causes! Ear Community is also very happy to have Dr. Bonilla be a part of making our Ear Community Microtia awareness t-shirts! A very special thank you to all of Ear Community’s sponsors (Cochlear Americas, Medtronic-Sophono, Oticon Medical, and Stryker CMF) for not only being a part of Ear Community’s passion for helping individuals with Microtia and Atresia, but thank you once again for being so happy for our organization on our special day and for supporting all of the children and adults who have Microtia and Atresia and for celebrating with us on our annual awareness day! Thank you so much for your support!
Melissa Tumblin of Ear Community stated that “The celebration of the first National Microtia Awareness Day was more than I could have ever imagined or wished for and it was absolutely an amazing day for so many! I am humbled and yet overwhelmed with the excitement and joy from so many families and organizations that participated on National Microtia Awareness Day! Thank you!
Click here for Press Release…
Click here for interview with AudiologyOnline about National Microtia Awareness Day…
Click here for radio commercial…
Click here to order official National Microtia Awareness Day t-shirts…
Here are just a few of some of our wonderful memories from National Microtia Awareness Day that took place on November, 9th, 2016:
Thank you for celebrating with all of us in 2016!
Founder and Executive Director
Ear Community Board Members
The Ear Community Organization