Champion - Heather Rock Mineo

Mother • Advocate

From: Mattydale, New York

Heather's Journey

Heather was a successful hair stylist in Syracuse, New York, when she was diagnosed with Scleroderma, an inflammation of the skin and other organs. This caused her hands to deteriorate, and she had to undergo surgery to save her fingers. Due to the aggressive state of her Scleroderma, her body rejected the surgery and caused an infection. As a result, she lost three fingers, suffered kidney damage, and experienced hearing loss.

Finding Strength

Despite the hardships Heather has faced due to her condition, she continues to fight and stay positive. She made the decision to get hearing aids, and they have impacted her life tremendously.

"With my hearing aids, I have been able to enjoy conversations with my husband and my child, Vinny," says Heather. "I have been able to feel a sense of normalcy in a world that has been overcome by chaos."

Through it all, Heather has a great support system that inspires her to keep going forward.

"I have many role models," says Heather. "I gain inspiration from my mother, who is a strong woman, as well as my husband and son. I love watching my son play basketball, spending time outdoors with my husband, and hanging out with friends."

Why Heather is a HearStrong Champion

Heather is a HearStrong Champion due to her strong will and refusal to let obstacles stop her from living her life. She is active in her community and church, and always makes her voice heard.

"I am continuing to fight hearing loss and fight Scleroderma for my son. I want to make him proud," Heather says. "I am glad that I did not give up fighting because I think it has showed him how I can overcome anything."

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