Archive for Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Audiologist donates hearing aids to tumor patient

Money collected in Facebook fundraiser will help others

December 29, 2009


Bonnie Cherry will get the hearing aids she needed, and it looks like she won’t be the only one, either.

The 27-year-old Lawrence actor’s friends had already raised more than $5,400 to help pay for hearing aids through a Facebook site when they found out a local audiologist volunteered to donate a pair for Cherry.

Her friends took action after treatment for a brain tumor damaged Cherry’s hearing and insurance wouldn’t cover the high cost of hearing aids.

Ky Willbanks, a doctor of audiology practicing in Lawrence and Kansas City, Mo., said that the hearing aid donation frees up the funds raised in Cherry’s honor to be spent on someone else.

Cherry is scheduled to be fitted with a new pair of top-of-the-line hearing aids this afternoon at Willbanks’ Echo Hearing Systems office in Kansas City.

“We saw the story in the paper and it just kind of struck us,” Willbanks said. “We got in contact with her through her donation page, and we just flat out told her, ‘We’d be happy to help you.’”

In an e-mail, Cherry said she felt lucky to have a community that engages and supports one another.

“When a community comes together to help anyone, it restores your faith in people,” she wrote. “But when your community works to help you, and when that community extends out to other cities and states and people you’ve never met, ... it’s kind of overwhelming. I’m grateful and warm.”

Amy Albright, one of the volunteers who helped raise money for Cherry, said she was surprised to learn of the hassles that are associated with paying for hearing aids. Cherry’s health insurance wouldn’t cover any of the $5,400 cost of the devices.

“The specifics of all of that are completely new to me since I’ve gotten involved in Bonnie’s situation, and it’s horrifying,” Albright said.

She said that Cherry and others would likely meet in coming days to determine exactly how the group would distribute the remaining funds. A possibility could include selecting a recipient for new hearing aids based on recommendations from the community.

“It’s just amazing,” Albright said of the response so far. “The Facebook thing, I think, has really made it happen.”


jill1403 8 years, 4 months ago

Do not understand why insurance companies will not help with hearing aids. My husband needs them and we were told by our insurance company that no benefits are offered. So happy for her and best of luck.

overthemoon 8 years, 4 months ago

No insurance covers hearing aids. Even though some offer vision plans the cover the cost of new glasses and exams on a yearly or every other year basis there is no plan for hearing aids. They are seen as too expensive and, get this, needed by too many people. Also, inexplicably, as most technological advances make digital gadgets less expensive (remember how much the first calculators cost?), hearing aids keep going up in price.

It is another way we get shafted by companies that make huge amounts of money off of people.

christy kennedy 8 years, 4 months ago

Can anyone explain this because we've been wondering too, why all things electronic are smaller and cheaper every time you look at them, and yet not hearing aids?

Peaty Romano 8 years, 4 months ago

I've had hearing aids in both ears for 13 years now. When I found out there was no help from insurance I was confused too. I have to say even the batteries are pretty expensive and you they are changed every 5 - 6 days depending. The only way you can get some sort of insurance help is if the company you work for has a flexible spending account where it lets you take money out ahead of time untaxed to pay for uncovered medical expenses.

RoeDapple 8 years, 4 months ago

Actually my insurance covers 80% up to $1000 per ear. Also covers most of my pharmacy. Before I retired it covered eye and dental. If I become eligible for Medicare before age 65 due to Obamacare my insurance company will drop both my spouse and I

staff04 8 years, 4 months ago

roe, that's a generous benefit by most standards. With hearing aids running in excess of $2000 each though, there are still folks who can't afford them...

justthefacts 8 years, 4 months ago

Bonnie, you may want to save some of that $$ that was raised for you to cover the costs of batteries! Sounds like that is going to be pretty expensive too. Thanks to all who donated - good karma coming your way(s)!

overthemoon 8 years, 4 months ago

roe dapple. one, no such thing as 'obamacare'. two, in case you missed it, medicare will not be expanded for those under 65.

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