As we’ve mentioned many times, one of our favorite things about summer is that it’s time for Ear Community’s Microtia and Atresia Summer Picnics. This year, in honor of the amazing connections that happen at these picnics, we’ll be sharing the experiences of attendees. We’ll start with an overview from the Founder of Ear Community, Melissa Tumblin.
“We had 220 people RSVP for our California picnic that took place in Pleasanton, California on June 21, 2014. We had Cochlear, Oticon Medical, and Stryker CMF as sponsors who attended to help families learn about their options. We had an anaplastologist there helping families not just learn about prosthetic ears, but to also physically see and touch them. Many people tune out the option for a prosthetic ear until they see how real they look and how well they can be matched to skin. Many times, in a line up, people can not pick out who is wearing a prosthetic ear because they look that real and blended,” Melissa explained. “We also had Dr. Joseph Roberson who joined us from the California Ear Institute as one of the world’s leading Otologists/Neurotologists for atresia repair and also Dr. Grant Fairbanks who helped families learn more about the rib graft option for external ear reconstruction.”
At the end of the picnic, Melissa and her picnic host, Shannon Katuszonek, thanked everyone. Melissa shared a special thank with Shannon and her family. They love Ear Community so much that Shannon and her family wanted to give back to Ear Community by funding the entire picnic herself. There were tears of joy, lots of “thank yous” and an overwhelming sense of relief that was sought by so many families who attended. By getting together, the group was able to see so clearly that they are not alone in dealing with Microtia and Atresia.
“We even had a few families who attended this year’s California picnic who have been coming for the past three years,” said Melissa, who hosted her first picnic in California in 2012. “We also had one family want to give back to the community, the Smiths, so they had Microtia and Atresia awareness wrist bands that they brought from Arizona to our CO picnic to hand out to all of the families.”
Next, we’ll be sharing the experiences of Shannon Katuszonek and Kristy Smith. Keep an eye here on the blog for their stories soon. And, if you’d like to share your Ear Community picnic experience please let us know in the comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter.