From: Monument, Colorado
When Emily was 11 years old, she was diagnosed with a type of bone cancer known as osteosarcoma. During her treatment, she began to lose her hearing, and was eventually fit with hearing aids. Emily recalls this discovery, and how it impacted her.
"If I am honest, I didn't know that I needed to be tested and for hearing aids at the time," she says. "I knew that I was having trouble hearing and understanding people, but I didn't know why. I was in active treatment for cancer, meaning chemotherapy and radiation, so I was feeling pretty crummy. My mom is actually the one who advocated for me to get my hearing tested. After I was finally tested and given hearing aids, my life returned to 'normal'. I could hear most of the world around me once more."
When Emily was fit with hearing aids, they made a huge difference in her life and the way she communicated with the people around her.
"Having hearing loss without addressing the issue is a huge struggle full of lies in what you can hear," she says. "I learned to answer questions with non—committal responses… 'yes,' 'no,' and the favorite; 'maybe.' It was exhausting day in and day out.
Now I am no longer filled with anxiety and stress about hearing the world around me. Not hearing is both stressful and disheartening. With hearing aids, I don't have to worry that I won't hear the phone or doorbell ring. I know that I will most likely be able to hear others and responds appropriately."
Now, more than two decades after her cancer diagnosis, Emily is a survivor and an advocate for others. She is a part of an organization called, OneCure, which promotes transactional oncology.
"This means they are creating cancer treatments in animals that can be translated to human medicine and vice versa," Emily explains.
She graduated from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs with a degree in English, and loves to spend time with the people who matter most.
"I like to read, spend time with my family, listen to music, and watch TV," she says. "I also like to cycle with my dad in the summer."
Emily is a HearStrong Champion because she has shown persistence and strength in the face of great challenges. She knows that hearing loss is nothing to be ashamed of, and she is a great role model to others.
"I think the biggest quality that makes me a HearStrong Champion is that I don't care that I have to wear hearing aids and that I have hearing loss," she says. "It doesn't make me weird or different. My acceptance of needing hearing aids makes me a good role model to little kids and teenagers who feel uncomfortable with them."
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