Next time life seems an uphill struggle, consider 79-year-old Theresa Utley’s Everest: Five surgeries (back, neck, both shoulders, joint replacement); abdominal aneurysm requiring four stents; complications from diabetes; loss of two son-in-laws; and a son had three strokes and open-heart surgery.
All of this rendered her unable to work, but she still cares for her 8-year-old great-grandson and helps an 84-year-old man who cannot read or write.
On top of everything, Utley’s hearing aid, which she borrowed money to buy, malfunctioned and is not repairable.
“It kept breaking and going fuzzy, finally died,” the Aberdeen resident says.
This meant she could not hear instructions from the doctor — or conversation from anyone else, or the minister at church, or the TV. It was frustrating for her and the family.
In desperation, Utley went back to the Beltone Hearing Center in Aberdeen where her first appliance was purchased.
Utley was encouraged by the practitioner to send her story to the Beltone Hearing Care Foundation, a charitable organization that donates appliances to those in need. Sometimes, the practitioner will apply in the patient’s behalf. Last year, Beltone Foundation provided approximately 500 hearing aids to worthy recipients nationwide, said Nelson Hudes, PR spokesperson for Beltone Carolina/Virginia.
“I wrote the letter three times,” Utley says, trying to strike a balance between auditory and financial needs. After several weeks she feared her effort in vain; Beltone had attempted to contact her, without success. Then, on Nov. 6, they connected. “I have good news,” the foundation representative said. Utley was told to make an appointment to hear it face-to-face. She arrived on Nov. 8 to learn that she had been selected, and the hearing aid was ready and waiting.
“I was kind of shocked,” but in a good way, Utley says. The aid was positioned in her ears as a big smile lit up her face. “I could hear right away, it was great!”
Now, the kind lady’s climb is no less steep but definitely less stressful. “Yes, thank God,” she exclaims. “Give it to Him and He’ll work it round.” A pause: “I sure thank Beltone, too.”