Let’s Talk would like to thank Elise and Karen for sharing this amazing story. We’ve always known how caring the people here at CSC can be, and this story is just another example of why. To the anonymous correctional officer who donated the remaining $1300 needed to purchase the hearing aids for Janice, thank you for your kindness and selflessness.
Each day became harder and harder for Janice, a clerk in the Pacific Region. She was often not aware when people were talking to her, was easily startled when people approached her from behind, and could only sit on one side of a meeting room. One day her supervisor, Karen Nash, asked her if she had noticed that her hearing was deteriorating, especially on the one side. Janice, relieved to discuss it, was surprised to find out that Karen thought she was yelling at people and that Janice did not realize conversations were occurring right in front of her.
Janice went to her doctor and was referred to a specialist who was going to insert tubes in her ears to restore her hearing. Janice waited most of a year for this appointment as her hearing issues continued to affect her ability to do her work. Finally, the day came when Janice was going to get her tubes inserted. With her colleagues also waiting in anticipation, Janice couldn’t wait for the appointment.
When Janice returned to work, her colleagues were waiting to share her joy of restored hearing, but she returned with no joy. Janice explained that while the specialist was prepping her ears for the tubes, he realized the problem was a hole in her ear drum. Because of the damage, he had to remove the ear drum instead, rendering her deaf in one ear. To make matters worse, he also said he would need to follow the same procedure for the other ear. She was devastated, and so were her colleagues.
Janice was referred to a hearing aid specialist and was hit with another cruel reality. The hearing aids she required cost $4700 and her medical plan only covered $1000. The company offered her a three-week free trial, but Janice didn’t want the trial as she knew she couldn’t afford to buy them anyways. She contemplated a life with no hearing and no job.
Karen found Janice crying at her desk and wanted to do something to help her. She sent out an email to her colleagues asking for their support, hoping to raise a few hundred dollars. One of these colleagues, Elise Reeh, came up with a more lucrative plan.
Elise and Karen decided to hold a fundraiser. Elise approached the 14th Ave Pub in Mission, who held weekly fundraising events, and asked for help. They told Elise that if she could sell 35 tickets they would give her a great deal on burgers, drinks, salad, and fries. Elise and her assistant sent out mass emails asking people to attend the fundraiser. Many people bought tickets and donated money too.
Over the next few weeks, Elise and her assistant Racheal Walker shared Janice’s story and encouraged people to donate or attend the fundraiser.
The night of the fundraiser arrived with lots of snow and about 20 people in attendance. Even though the mandatory amount of meals were not bought, the 14th Ave Pub, knowing Janice’s plight, provided a great deal anyway. In addition, Elise and her assistant held several raffles for bottles of wine and craft beer, chocolate, and a huge basket full of chocolate, coffee, wine, and glasses donated by one of Janice’s colleagues. In addition, coincidentally, Elise’s husband won the 50/50 draw, which he generously donated back to Janice.
After all the burgers and drinks were consumed and all the donations were collected, Janice only had about $1500 left to pay for her hearing aids. Janice told the hearing aid company of the wonderful fundraiser held for her, and the company was so touched by the story that they gave her $200 off.
With $1300 remaining, another amazing event occurred. A very kind correctional officer working at Kent Institution, who had never met Janice, decided to anonymously donate the rest of the money needed. He worked through another employee to keep his anonymity and to get the money to Janice.
After all this, Karen found Janice crying at her desk again. This time, Janice cried tears of joy in appreciation for the amazing humanity that her correctional family showed her. It also taught everyone a lesson in what’s possible when people come together and show compassion and kindness for one another.
Janice received her new hearing aids and can hear almost perfectly while wearing them.