Home News Marathon to benefit deaf Idaho children

Marathon to benefit deaf Idaho children

The Olive Osmond Hearing Fund and the Osmond Brothers will jointly host the M.A.D. (Making a Difference) marathon, half marathon, 10K, 5K and a kids’ fun run on July 28.

The races will take place in Idaho Falls, and funds will benefit Idaho children living with hearing loss.

The Osmond Brothers are also hosting a benefit concert the night before the races.

The concert will be in the Civic Auditorium in Idaho Falls on July 27 at 8 p.m.

All proceeds will go to the Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind, as well as Idaho public schools. This is the second time the Osmond Brothers have hosted an event like the M.A.D. marathon.

In 2011, they were able to raise enough money to help over 2,000 children.

Olive Osmond, the mother of the famous singing Osmonds, began raising awareness for hearing health when her two oldest sons, Tom and Virl, were born with severe hearing loss. The Olive Osmond Hearing Fund was founded in 2010 by Justin Osmond, her grandson.

Justin Osmond was diagnosed with 90 percent hearing loss at age 2. He knew that his grandmother had a determination to help deaf children, and when she passed away, he decided to carry on her legacy.

“I was very close to my grandmother,” Justin Osmond said. “When she passed away, I decided to continue the legacy that she started. I’m hearing impaired and I wear hearing aids, so I know what it’s like. Someone gave me a chance to hear, so it’s a good way to pay it forward.”

Justin Osmond traveled the world with the Starkey Hearing Foundation, helping disabled children for about 11 years. This foundation is an outreach program that helps deaf people around the world. The Olive Osmond Hearing Fund is now sponsoring it.

“Our foundation is not just about helping people with hearing problems,” Justin Osmond said. “It’s also about preventing hearing loss.”

Since first being diagnosed at a young age, he has been able to overcome his hearing disability.

“I lived in a world devoid of sound for two years,” Osmond said. “When they found out, they put me in intense speech and comprehension therapy for about 12 years. I’m still learning how to speak everyday. I’m very thankful that I can speak with passion and hear with conviction, all because someone gave me a chance.”

Justin Osmond went on to play multiple musical instruments and receive many awards such as music scholarships, academic scholarships, honorary achievements, and athletic titles in soccer and football. He said he has been blessed in his life, despite his severe hearing loss.

“I’ve come to realize that my greatest weaknesses have become my greatest blessings,” Justin Osmond said. “I have a physical weakness, but it’s more so a blessing than a challenge because it’s made me who I am. I have a 90 percent hearing loss, and I’m proud of it. I’m happy that way.”

He said that the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund has not only made a difference in the lives of disabled children, but also in his own life.

“The changes it makes in people’s lives bring a change to mine,” he said. “That’s what keeps me going. I know I can’t do much alone, but together we can do so much more.”

Individuals can register for the race at www.themadmarathon.com. Tickets for the benefit concert are available at www.idahofallsarts.org.

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