THE LIONS CHANGED MY LIFE Off to the Right Start The first months of Abigail Voigt’s life were stressful for her parents, Stacy and Jeremy. Although overjoyed to take Abigail home after 10 days in the neonatal intensive care unit, they later learned that Abigail had severe hearing loss. When the Voigts found out that hearing aids were not covered by insurance, they panicked over how to pay for them. While they relied on loaner aids from a local clinic in St. Cloud, Minnesota, a co-worker of Stacy’s recommended she write to the Lions. St. Cloud Lion Bob Seitz then contacted the Metro St. Cloud and St. Cloud Southsiders Lions, and the three clubs joined together to provide the family with $3,000 for hearing aids. Now the Voigts can financially plan for the future while 16-month-old Abigail can delight in her favorite sounds—especially her mommy’s voice. Q&A: Stacy Voigt LION Magazine: Were you surprised that hearing aids were not covered by insurance? Stacy Voigt:We were shocked. We were glad to know Abigail would be able to hear with hearing aids, but we didn’t know how we would pay for them without time to save up. After appealing the insurance claim denial three times, I wrote to the Lions. It was hard to ask for help. We would have been happy with anything, but what they did for us was amazing. LM: What do the hearing aids mean for Abigail’s development? SV: If children don’t hear properly early in life, it can worsen their disability and slow their gross motor development. Abigail is behind in speaking, and she’ll start walking later because of her inner ear balance. But she’s in speech therapy now, and she’s making wonderful progress. LM: What was it like when you knew Abigail was hearing well for the first time? SV: It was the happiest day when we found out that she’s experiencing only a mild hearing loss with the new hearing aids. After leaving the clinic when her aids were adjusted to the correct amplification, we said her name and she looked right at us. We cried knowing she could hear, really hear us! LM: Can you tell that Abigail notices the difference? SV: She is much more aware of her surroundings. It’s so fun to watch her—it’s like she can’t get enough of life! When we put the aids in, she lights up and starts babbling. When she wakes up in the morning she can hear me tell her good morning and that I love her. That means the world to us. LM: Did the Lions get to meet Abigail? SV: Yes, Lions from each club came to meet us. Abigail smiled and happily let everyone hold her. It was like she was thanking them herself! It was so joyful. She touched their hearts the way they touched ours. Abigail will always know about what the Lions did for us. Lions, has your club heard from a recipient of your service or charity? Tell us about the feedback you’ve received from those whose lives you’ve changed for the better. Email a brief description to email@example.com. Please include “Thank You” in the subject line. DEVOTED READER Rita Juhász (left photo), president of the Miskolci Első Lady Lions Club in Hungary, brought along her LION while visiting the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Lions Terry Shears and his wife, Patti, of the Boardman Lions Club in Ohio went to great lengths–back in time, so to speak, and over dangerous roads–to get a dramatic snapshot of them and the LION. They traveled over hairpin roads in Peru to the top of Machu Picchu, a 15th-century Inca site 7,970 feet above sea level. They kneel in front of the Temple of the Sun. Terry holds Patti more than just because he loves her: a step behind them is a sheer drop of nearly 3,000 feet to the Urubamba River. Want to be in the LION? Just send us a photo of you with the LION, whether you’re at the pyramids in Egypt, the Great Wall of China, a café or street scene overseas or even an interesting location close to home. Send the picture along with your name, Lions club, hometown and photo description to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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