Anton Media Group’s essay winner, 16-year-old Floral Park resident Kyle Meyfohrt boarded the private helicopter of Cablevision’s owner Pat Dolan, while his family looked on from the nearby hanger. After five cancellations because of weather he was finally about to get the ride of a lifetime. Pilot Kris Saether went over the final safety check list and we were off. As the helicopter blades sliced through the thickness of sultry summer evening, we rose upward and across Republic Airport heading toward the skyline of Manhattan.
Meyfohrt’s excellent adventure would never have been possible had it not been for the care he received from doctors and nurses 16 years ago when he was delivered through an emergency C-section five weeks early, weighing five pounds, and was not expected to live. Lying in an incubator with his family around him praying through the night, a miracle took place and he survived.
But Meyfohrt’s troubles were far from over. The medication he received to help him live affected his hearing and as a result his speech and ability to learn. Penning the winning essay where the theme was tell us something you have done to positively impact your community, Meyfohrt discussed his personal hurdles being hearing impaired and how he is raising money for other young people experiencing the same problems.
In his essay Meyfohrt discussed the average cost of hearing aids which can range from $4,000 to $8,000 and there is no funding for this for young people in New York State and it was a financial hardship for his family. Looking outside of New York, his mother discovered the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund (OOHF) in Utah which was named for the mother of famous singing sensations Donnie and Marie. Two of their brothers were hearing impaired so they set up a foundation to help other children who needed hearing aids. Meyfohrt received a free pair of hearing aids through the foundation. Grateful for the gift of hearing, Meyfohrt wanted to do something for the organization when he was invited to attend their annual event in New Jersey.
“I decided I wanted to give back to them for all they gave me,” said Meyfohrt. “My goal was to raise $250 to give OOHF that night to help someone else receive hearing aids.”
Meyfohrt exceeded his goal and raised $1,015 to present to Justin Osmond, CEO and founder of OOHF, and his wife Kristi.
“At the event that night, I spent time talking to Justin, who is also hearing impaired, and got to meet the people that raised money to help me get new hearing aids,” said Meyfohrt. “I decided I wanted to have a fundraiser to benefit the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund.”
Working with the community and his family and friends, Meyfohrt will be holding a “Showcase of Musical Talent” featuring up and coming youth in the area. Osmond and his wife will be attending.
Meyfohrt’s goal for this fundraiser is to be able to raise enough money to purchase hearing aids for five children on Long Island.
The event will take place from 4 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14, at Plattduetsche Park Restaurant in Franklin Square and will feature a buffet dinner, music and raffles. Admission is $50 per person. The event will be held in honor of a friend of his, Andrew Burros, who at the age of nine was while riding his bike on a sidewalk, was hit by a teenager driver with a learner’s permit who ran her car up on the curb striking Andrew and his mother. Burros, who was hearing impaired, died on the way to the hospital.
Meyfohrt smiled while taking in the sites of Manhattan as we flew over the East River, passing skyscrapers and bridges, then winging our way over Central Park and down the Hudson River. The new Freedom Tower gleamed in the sunset and then it was on to Liberty Island for a close-up view.
Holding her torch high, Lady Liberty was even more breathtaking from an aerial view. Crossing
over the tip of Manhattan with sailboats navigating the wind below us we winged our way back to Long Island. As Saether gently set the chopper down on a platform in Farmingdale, I asked Meyfohrt, who was grinning from ear-to-ear, what he thought of the ride and with thumbs up he replied, “Awesome.”
Email Debbie Meyfohrt at email@example.com for additional details about the Nov. 14 fundraiser to benefit OOHF.