Bonnie Cherry is a fan of hearing. Really she has been all of her life. These days Bonnie isn’t hearing as well as she used to but she could be helped significantly by a couple of hearing aids. Unfortunately the devices she needs are somewhat costly and therefore financially out of reach.
It’s a sad fact that insurance companies gladly support the lucrative business of helping men pitch tents, as it were. Sadly if you’re hard of hearing apparently if you’re hard of anything it is far more difficult to get insurance assistance.
So we’re taking it to the streets. And to the Internet.
As administrative coordinator at the Lawrence Arts Center, Bonnie is a familiar face to many folks in the community. Bonnie has helped a vast number of Lawrence kids and adults navigate the waters of becoming involved in the arts. She has been eager to help anyone who comes through the LAC door. But it’s difficult to be the one to ask for help. It’s especially awkward when the help you need is financial. That’s where we come in.
Let’s let Bonnie sit back and relax (or at least work in her normal fashion) while the rest of us do a little footwork and maybe a good deed to boot. Let’s give a few bucks to somebody we know and love to help her get a couple of hearing aids. HEARING AIDS, I SAY!
When Bonnie was 12 years old, the doctor said her headaches were "growing pains" and gave her a pill.
When she was 13, he said the very bad headaches were sinus infections, and gave her another pill.
When she was 14, he said, "it must be depression" and gave her more pills.
When she was 17, after being forced to finally take a look at her head, they said "It's a tumor".
So ended Bonnie's youth. In its place, she was handed pill after pill and surgery upon surgery and bill upon mountains of bills.
What she was left with at the end of all this (when most young people are enjoying their college days, or partying with friends) was a soft spot in her skull, paralyzed vocal cords and the inability to speak, useless and atrophied muscles in her neck and shoulder, constant excruciating pain, a paralyzed tongue and the inability to swallow food or liquid without choking, scars not only from the surgery to remove the tumor and the nerves it was wrapped around on her brain stem, but other scars from the tissue transplants they had to use to patch her up again, and another at her throat to let her speak at all. She couldn't hear out of one ear, and the other was getting worse all the time. They said she would need a feeding tube for the rest of her life. She would certainly pay for her surgeries: she had them without health insurance.
I would have given up. You might have given up. It was all so unfair, so tragic, so overwhelmingly HARD. But Bonnie didn't give up. She taught herself to swallow in a different way, she worked at her speech until most people would never know there was a problem. She lives with the pain, and overcomes it without narcotics. She embraces the battle scars that enabled her to live. She lives life out loud. She takes every day as the precious gift that it is, and she wrings every drop of joy from it, because unlike most of us, she knows that we only get so very few, and those could be snatched from us by the cruelty of fate. Bonnie knows how to live. She knows how to light up a room as if the sun were rising from behind a cloud when she walks in. She knows how to give of herself to help other people, all the while making sure that they learn how to help themselves.
In fact, there are only two things that Bonnie can't do.
The first is hear.
The second thing that Bonnie cannot do is ask for help. So I, and others who love her, are doing it for her. If ever there was a worthy cause, a person who truly deserved something good to happen for a change, THIS is that cause. And Bonnie Cherry is that person. You will not get your name on a plaque if you help Bonnie. You will not get a set of personalized address stickers, but you will help to give one girl something that everyone takes for granted but she longs for every day... the chance to hear again. And what could feel better than knowing that?Sheri Addis
You may be asking, "What in tarnation does Bonnie's hearing have to do with petunias, and why the heck is this on the Vinland Valley Nursery web store?" The reason is simple. We love Bonnie. We have a web store that is bought and paid for, and the knowledge and ability to create the needed space quickly and for free so that Bonnie's family, friends, friends of friends and total strangers who read about her and want to help can easily kick in on the hearing aids she needs. Please donate what you can any amount will help. And forward a link to this page to your friends and family and encourage them to do so. It's just not fair that our Bonnie should be going without such a basic and essential thing as hearing, especially when the medical equipment she needs is readily available.Doug, Amy, Emma, Celie and Bess
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