Two important tinnitus events, sponsored by the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), take place on May 16th in Southern California. While different in scope and method each event, seeks to raise greater understanding of tinnitus. The first, national, ATA Walk for A Cure gets underway at 9:00 AM at Irvine Regional Park, in Orange, CA. On the same day in Los Angeles, the ATA hosts a seminar titled “Hope & Help for Living with Tinnitus” at 10:00 AM.
“Hope & Help for Living with Tinnitus” seminar promises informative presentations and interactive discussions on a variety of tinnitus related subjects, including types of treatments and practical strategies for living with tinnitus. It takes place at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, from 10 AM to 4:30 PM. Among the noted guest speakers are John W. House, MD, of the House Ear Institute, Jeff A. Carroll, PhD, of UC Irvine Tinnitus Center, and Jennifer DuPriest, Director of Public Affairs, ATA. The daylong event is open to both the general public and healthcare professionals. Those interested in attending should contact the ATA. Registration is $40 and lunch will be provided.
The Walk For A Cure
The Walk for A Cure is free to the public and was conceived by Orange County Tinnitus Support Group organizer, Mari Quigley Miller.* As the event’s chairwoman, Mari’s goal is to bring together individuals with tinnitus and their circle of family and friends to help raise public awareness for a cure for tinnitus through greater funding, research and education. Towards that goal she enlisted the support of the ATA, the nation’s foremost organization working to cure tinnitus.
*Editor’s Note: In 1988 Mari Quigley Miller developed an acoustic neuroma with hearing loss and tinnitus and has since undergone successful treatment. She leads a Tinnitus Support Group in Orange, CA.
The Walk encompasses two components; a physical walk in Orange, California and a virtual online walk that allows people from across the country and the world to participate in this exciting event.
Mari believes that as many as 500 walkers will participate and include members of other tinnitus support groups as well as members of the US armed services. Tinnitus and hearing loss are the number one disability claim of military personnel returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The ATA Walk For A Cure has received corporate support and sponsorship from numerous organizations including the Starkey Foundation, House Ear Clinic, the Research Clinic at University of California Irvine, and Arches Tinnitus Formulas.
Two Walks in One
The traditional 1.5 kilometer walk will be hosted by several celebrities (to be named). Refreshments will be served to walkers and there will be a Tinnitus Fair with booths that disseminate useful information. Many of the walkers will have obtained pledges from friends, familymembers, and associates from across Southern California and the country.
The Walk takes place at Irvine Regional Park in Orange, California. Irvine Regional Park is a beautiful site, nestled among groves of heritage Oak and Sycamore trees. The rolling foothills surrounding the park are filled with a variety of wildlife. Trees, ponds, and shaded turf areas provide a serene setting for leisure activities.
The virtual walk, according to Mari, takes place whenever the virtual “walker” finds time. From any Internet-connected computer, virtual walkers may show their support by logging onto the ATA’s Web site and clicking on the Walk For A Cure.
From there, virtual walkers may follow a series of steps designed to deepen general understanding of tinnitus, tinnitus sufferers, and what is being done to combat this often-horrific condition. Some virtual walkers may choose to make a simple personal monetary pledge and/or organize their own group of virtual walkers.
The ATA’s website states, “No matter where you live, we are asking you to join us and be part of the American Tinnitus Association Walk For A Cure. Your footsteps will harmonize with hundreds of others and you can participate from the comfort of your living room, backyard or local library – no matter what town, city, state or country you live in! For those who cannot be there in person, the day of the physical walk, the ATA will display your name as a virtual participant to represent your dedication to curing tinnitus.”
Beyond supporting the ATA Walk For A Cure in person or via a personal computer, Mari hopes to raise greater public awareness on tinnitus. “Due to the fact that tinnitus cannot be heard by others, the nature of the disease tends to make sufferers feel isolated,” Mari said. “So many people feel all alone as if they are the only one dealing with this condition. Living within a vacuum of sorts, it can be difficult to become informed about tinnitus and coping skills. So often I hear of well intended but uninformed doctors sending patients home with absolutely no tools, in short saying ‘There is nothing anyone can do. You just have to live with it.’ ”
“However, many well informed tinnitus sufferers have discovered they can improve their quality of life. “It all begins with awareness and education. My vision is to raise money for a cure,” Mari says. “But in the meantime, there are an estimated 50 million people in the US with tinnitus, 12 million of whom have sought medical treatment and nearly two million who have become completely debilitated by tinnitus.”
Join in and get involved
Interested in attending the Walk, virtually or physically? Want to learn more about tinnitus, donate money to help fund the cure, or start your own tinnitus support group? Go to the ATA’s website and get involved today.
|In Her Own Words – Mari Quigley MillerJanuary of 1998 I had surgery for a brain tumor, acoustic neuroma. I decided then and there that I wanted to give back tenfold. Prior to my surgery I had been volunteering as a phone support for the ATA, whose mission is to cure tinnitus through the development of resources that advance tinnitus research.The ATA had been there for me… now it was my turn to give back to them.My first support group meeting was very exciting bringing in over 50 people in Orange County at St Joseph’s Outpatient Pavilion in Orange, Ca. Today there are around 20 members who really get involved in our monthly meetings making it very successful. I try to have speakers off and on including ENT doctors, doctors of acupuncture, TMJ specialists, nutritionist, etc, but most of time I prefer the group members sharing their courage, strength and hope with the newcomers as well as each other.For eight years I have had a dream to put together the very first Walk For A Cure. My brother sent me the book The Secret, which focuses on the law of attraction. I decided after reading the book that it was time to focus on making the walk a reality by involving the right organizations. The ATA stepped in along with the Starkey Foundation, House Ear Clinic, Arches Tinnitus Formulas, as well as many more individuals helping to make this a successful event.|