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For the second consecutive year, long-time friends Sarah Gonzalez (age 12) and Julia Zager (age 11) dedicated themselves to raising money for those suffering from hearing loss so that others can receive the gift of hearing.  In March, the girls and their families participated in a 5K “Color Me Rad” run to raise money for the Bolesta Center at USF.  A part of the CBCS Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, the Bolesta Center is dedicated to teaching children who are deaf and hard of hearing to learn to listen and speak.   

Sarah, who was born profoundly deaf, was fortunate enough to receive Cochlear implants at a very young age.  However, the Gonzalez family recognizes that Cochlear implants are a difficult financial hurdle for many families.  Once a patient qualifies for the implant, they must pay for doctor visits and the technology to restore hearing.  Though the cost of Cochlear implants is covered by most insurance plans, not all plans cover the procedure and device. 

Five years after Sarah received her Cochlear implant, the Gonzalez family started raising money and participating in running events in an effort to help others in need.  The success of “Sarah’s Run” soon turned into an annual event, and over the years has benefitted many families in need of service like that provided by the Bolesta Center at USF.  The success of Sarah’s Run has gathered momentum in the community as well, especially with Corbett Preparatory, Sarah’s School.  This is the second year that the school will have donated the proceeds of their Annual Used Book Sale to the Bolesta Center at USF.

Both the Gonzalez and Zager families intend to continue their commitment to helping those suffering from hearing loss.  As has been said by Liz Gonzalez, Sarah’s mother, “nobody should be denied the gift of hearing.” 

For more information regarding the Bolesta Center or Sarah’s Run, contact the Bolesta Center at USF at 813-974-5733.

College of Behavioral & Community Sciences Mark