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Kickoff Fundraiser Brings in 15K

May 6, 2015--Jacob Landis got a big boost from supporters of his charity, Jacob’s Ride, at the Greene Turtle in Annapolis. The event raised in excess of $15,000 dollars, which included a $10,000 check from the Jaklitsch Law Group.

Jacob’s Ride raises money to help defray the cost of cochlear implants for deaf and severely hearing impaired individuals. This device, sometimes called a “bionic ear,”  can enable hearing for those who are not able to obtain adequate results from traditional hearing aids, but at a far greater expense which is not always covered by medical insurance.

Landis had earlier mentioned to Jaklitsch that the cost of one cochlear implant surgery ranges between $75,000 and $125,000. However, with matching grants and bundling, for every $10,000 that Jacob’s Ride donates to the Gift of Hearing Foundation, one deaf or hearing-impaired person can receive a cochlear implant. “...[if] he’s riding across the country,” said Jaklitsch as he presented Landis with the donation, ”I can sit at a desk and write him a check and help him out.”

Jacob’s Ride 2015” is set to take off on May 26th from Ventura, CA and end some 3,800 miles and 54 days later in Ocean City, MD. Landis hopes to build on the momentum of his 2013 cross-country ride to all 30 Major League baseball stadiums, which netted more than $100,000. All net proceeds from the 2015 Ride will benefit the Gift of Hearing Foundation.

Major supporters of Jacob’s Ride include the Crofton and Parole Rotary clubs, which have contributed thousands of dollars to the cause. Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh and Alderman Fred Paone were also in attendance at the fundraiser to help drum up donations.

Maryland State Delegate Herb McMillan praised the ability of Landis’s cause to operate almost entirely through the efforts of volunteers. “This is a very lean charity--there’s no middle man here. The money is going to help the children [who need cochlear implants].”

Johns Hopkins cochlear implant surgeon Dr. Howard Francis affirmed the need. “Access is an issue,” Francis remarked. “What Jacob is doing is making it possible for us to imagine that this could be made available to all children [who need it]… if we take this to where it should go.”

“I’m seeing a vision evolve here,” Francis said.

Landis spoke of his resolve to continue raising awareness and needed funds for cochlear implants, sparked by the experiences of his 2013 journey. “To see a shy child, who had never met another cochlear implant user, open up in just the 3-hour period of a baseball game -- something about that gave me the need to ride again.”

Landis’s 2013 effort brought together hundreds of cochlear implant users at his stadium stops. “It was breathtaking,” said Landis, to observe them interacting with each other.

Recalling the times during the 2013 ride when his own cochlear implant batteries died, and he would suddenly be riding deaf, Landis talked about how it troubled him that he couldn’t hear the wind, trucks passing, or trains rolling by. He vowed to keep riding to help give the gift of hearing for which he is so grateful.

Even when the going gets rough, “I will not stop,” Landis promised.