MAXimize Korene's Hearing

At the age of 4, I lost my vision as a result of an extremely rare eye condition, keratoglobus. I attended Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children in Pittsburgh where I received a fine education and that, in combination with high expectations from my parents, enable me to live a full family, social and working life.

At the age of 25, I began to lose the hearing in my left ear, and after experimenting with several hearing aids, it became clear that a hearing aid was not a solution to the profound deafness in the ear. Presently, I have no hearing in my left ear, and I have a mild to moderate loss of hearing in my right ear. Because the hearing in both ears is not balanced, I am unable to localize sounds. At night when I do not wear a hearing aid on my better ear, I am unable to hear such things as the phone, my alarm, or worse, the smoke detector. My hearing loss and my total blindness limit my independence and my social life.

About a year ago, in the middle of the night, the smoke detector in my home began chirping due to a low battery. Much to my surprise and delight, my pet dog alerted me to the situation. This event caused me to give some thought to obtaining a hearing assistance dog. I knew that my pet dog was not an option because she is not trained, and she was 11 years old at the time. I decided to take some time and compose a list of what a hearing assistance dog could do for me.

A hearing assistance dog could enhance my daily living by:
 - alerting me to the smoke detector
 - alerting me to a phone call
 - waking me when my alarm sounds
 - alerting me when the doorbell rings
 - alerting me when my transportation arrives
 - alerting me when a person addresses me
 - retrieving dropped objects
 - locating an inside door, exit or main desk in a public place
 - locating an empty chair or returning to my seat in public
 - assisting me to follow another person.

After I completed my list, I scheduled an appointment to meet with the staff at New Hope Assistance Dogs Inc. During our meeting, the staff was pleasant, knowledgeable, and encouraging. The staff is currently raising and training a border collie puppy, Max, to perform tasks specific to my needs. 

Persons who are visually impaired have the option of traveling with a guide dog. I do not have this option due to my hearing loss and my inability to localize sounds. However, a hearing assistance dog would greatly improve my confidence and my daily life.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my story and consider donating to my fund raising efforts.

Korene Kegg
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Korene Kegg 
Pittsburgh, PA
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