NBA Cares Joins Starkey Hearing Foundation On First Ever Hearing Mission To China More Than 6,000 Hearing Impaired to Receive the Gift of Hearing

NBA Legend Yao Ming and Los Angeles Clippers Forward Caron Butler to Participate

MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In its continuing efforts to fit and give one million hearing aids this decade, Starkey Hearing Foundation will be visiting China as part of an ongoing partnership with NBA Cares to give the gift of hearing to more than 6,000 children and adults in need. Having distributed hundreds of thousands of hearing aids to date in more than 97 countries, this will mark the first time Starkey Hearing Foundation has conducted a mission in China.

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On August 26, eight-time NBA All-Star and former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming, two-time NBA All-Star and Los Angeles Clippers forward Caron Butler, and NBA China CEO David Shoemaker will join Starkey Hearing Foundation's team of audiologists and staff in Chengdu. Both Yao and Butler are participating on behalf of NBA Cares and its support of Starkey Hearing Foundation's mission – So the World May Hear.The NBA family has previously teamed up with the Foundation on hearing missions in the United States, Egypt, Puerto Rico, and Turkey.

"The NBA family is proud to team up with Starkey Hearing Foundation to provide thousands of children and adults with hearing aids," said NBA China CEO David Shoemaker.  "I am thrilled to be part of this life-changing mission.  This ongoing partnership underscores the league's commitment, through NBA Cares, to supporting internationally recognized youth-serving organizations that make a profound difference for those in need around the world."

"Like so many aspects of everyday life, sports are just one area that provide an individual with a sense of belonging and community, where hearing is critical for participation and involvement," said Bill Austin, Founder, Starkey Hearing Foundation.  "We are fortunate to team up with NBA Cares on this mission to reflect sharing and caring into others by restoring their hearing and reconnecting them to their loved ones and the world around them. We want to help them reach their full potential in life, maybe even becoming a basketball star."

Starkey Hearing Foundation will be conducting missions in Xi'an and Chengdu, China from August 19 to 29, fitting more than 6,000 patients. Yao and Butler will assist with the fittings in Chengdu on August 26, as well as participate in NBA FIT clinics being held at the Qingshengshan High School and Jinhua Wanda Plaza.

"It is very meaningful to help kids hear their parents' voices and to be able to call mom and dad in their own voice for the first time in their life," said Yao. "I am proud to partner with Starkey Hearing Foundation and NBA Cares in the first ever hearing mission to China, which will enable thousands of people to hear their loved ones for the first time."

"It is an honor to join Starkey Hearing Foundation and NBA Cares to give the gift of hearing to thousands of people in China," said Butler.  "The ability to hear is such an important part of life on and off the court and I am thankful to have the opportunity to help improve the lives of 6,000 people."

Other Starkey Hearing Foundation mission sponsors include Pentair; Glen and Becky Taylor, owners of the Minnesota Timberwolves; and Bill and Teri Popp, Popp Communications.

This marks the Foundation's first mission following the 2012 So the World May Hear Awards Gala which took place on August 4, 2012, and raised a record $7.6 million. The funds will allow Starkey Hearing Foundation to conduct hearing missions around the world and distribute more than 100,000 hearing aids again this year.

Hearing missions are the primary way Starkey Hearing Foundation realizes its goal – So the World May Hear. Each year, the Foundation conducts hearing missions both in the U.S. and internationally, and as a member of President Clinton's Global Initiative has pledged to fit one million hearing aids to individuals in need this decade.  According to the Foundation, hearing loss is pervasive, affecting more than 63 million children worldwide. Yet, with the help of a hearing device, hearing loss can be corrected in a majority of cases, giving an individual the opportunity to better connect with their family, the community and the world around them.

Starkey Hearing Foundation is committed to creating sustainable systems of hearing care in each location it visits and provides hearing aid recipients with the tools and resources to properly maintain them, including a year's supply of batteries, as well as counseling on how to properly care for and maintain the devices.  The Foundation also identifies and supports local health care partners to ensure patients have access to the help they need long after the mission ends. 

About NBA Cares

NBA Cares is the league's global social responsibility program that builds on the NBA's mission to address important social issues in the United States and around the world.  Through this program, the NBA, its teams and players have donated than $200 million to charity, completed more than 1.9 million hours of hands-on community service, and created more than 720 places where kids and families can live, learn, or play, in 23 countries and territories on five continents.   NBA Cares works with internationally recognized youth-serving programs that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes, including: KaBOOM!, Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, UNICEF, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.

About Starkey Hearing Foundation

Starkey Hearing Foundation is bringing understanding among individuals and communities through hearing care by focusing on awareness, education, protection and treatment, so the world may hear. Hearing loss affects one in 10 Americans, and 63 million children worldwide, yet many do not have access to the hearing devices that can help them. Starkey Hearing Foundation fits and gives more than 100,000 hearing aids annually, and as a member of President Clinton's Global Initiative, it has pledged to fit one million hearing aids this decade. In addition to giving the gift of hearing through worldwide hearing missions, Starkey Hearing Foundation promotes hearing health awareness and education through the Listen Carefully initiative and provides hearing instruments to low-income Americans through the Hear Now program. For more information on Starkey Hearing Foundation, visit www.starkeyhearingfoundation.org.

SOURCE Starkey Hearing Foundation



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