Champion - Mark Downey

Student • Community Activist

From: North Huntingdon, PA

Early Diagnosis

“At the age of three, I received my first hearing aid, and (I) later received my cochlear implant at the age of 11,” said Mark.

“My pediatrician was concerned with the fact that I wasn’t talking at the normal rate of children at that age (three years old) and suggested a hearing test for me. Following doctor’s orders, we went to (the) audiology (department) of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, got the news that I had moderate-to-severe hearing loss in my left ear and deaf in my right ear.”

Living Well

“With the help of my hearing devices, I was able to actively participate in the local public school district. I have excelled in all my years there, becoming a dependable, straight-A student that was ranked 10th out of 431 students for grade point average for the 2013-14 freshman school year. I have been involved in many different clubs over the years and recently have taken on an in-school advocate role for (children with hearing difficulties) in Southwestern Pennsylvania by using fundraisers to raise money for the local Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Hearing Center.”

Helping Others

“Out of all of the moments that involved my hearing loss, some of which involved lots of courage, hard work, and dedication, there was one special moment I experienced last year (2013). I had arranged to buy bedside fire alarms for (hard of hearing children) in Pittsburgh. I wanted to buy around 48 of these units, which cost around $150 dollars. In order to raise money, I created flyers and assembled a team to go door-to-door and hand deliver the flyers in my—and surrounding—neighborhoods. The top of the flyer had a description of what I was planning to do, and at the bottom was an order form to order flowers for Easter. I was able to raise $5,000 off of the sale. Along with the customer’s order form and check, some wrote notes to me personally. These notes touched my heart, and they told me that I was doing a great thing for the community. After I finally received the units and handed them out, I received a few thank you notes from some of the children that got the units. These times were some of the proudest moments of my life.”

Why Mark is a HearStrong Champion

“The gift of hearing is the greatest gift in the world... (hearing better) will change your life for the better. I also would like to show that it is possible to be an active person in the community and public schools. With determination and hard work, we can all get there.”

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