Osmonds’ East Valley event to benefit kids with hearing loss - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Osmonds’ East Valley event to benefit kids with hearing loss

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Posted: Friday, November 16, 2012 6:15 am

The world-famous Osmond Brothers are coming to Arizona -- bringing their 50-year tradition of entertainment and their passion for giving.

A two-part event -- the Osmond Brothers concert and the Hear in Mesa 5K and Kids Run, scheduled for earlier in the day—will benefit local children with hearing loss through the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund.

Event spokesman Justin Osmond said it offers a great deal for the community and has a special meaning for him personally as well, as he was born with profound hearing loss. Justin is the son of Mary and Merrill Osmond, one of the original Osmond Brothers.

Recently recognized as the longest active band in history -- performing together for more years than the Beatles or the Jackson 5 – the Osmond Brothers’ accomplishments have been legendary. “Since embarking on their prestigious recording career, the Osmonds have sold over 77 million records and have accrued more than 30 gold records,” their website states.

They have appeared before standing-room-only audiences from coast to coast and around the world.

Of the benefit concert, Justin said, “This could be the last time the Osmond Brothers perform together in Arizona,” noting that Alan has multiple sclerosis and Wayne recently suffered an intense stroke, so the show will feature Merrill, Jay and Jimmy.

“It will be one of the most exciting productions ever,” Justin said. The songs will be taken from the Osmonds’ hit records and, “almost every song has a moving video that goes along with it.”

A plus for the Phoenix area is the fact that funds raised will benefit local children.

“The concert and run will raise funds that stay in Arizona,” Justin said. “Two very special children will be highlighted on stage and will receive top-of-the-line, state-of-the-art hearing aids.”

The benefit event is a little like coming full circle for the Osmond Brothers.

“A lot of people don’t know the Osmonds’ story,” Justin said, explaining that the two oldest brothers -- Verl and Tom -- were both born with hearing loss.

“Their parents, Olive and George, were running a dairy farm at the time, and there was no money to buy hearing aids,” he said. So the family decided to form a singing group to raise money for that purpose. “That’s how it all got started.”

From there, the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund was created and that led to the formation of the Children’s Miracle Network, which has helped thousands of children who suffer from cancer and other debilitating or life-threatening diseases.

Justin said of the more than 70 grandchildren and more than 100 great-grandchildren who are descendants of Olive and George Osmond, he is the only one who is deaf.

“I’m just lucky, I guess,” he laughed, then quickly added, “I can’t complain. I feel really blessed. I was raised in a good family. My parents are my heroes and they gave me a chance. I was given the opportunity to hear my loved ones, to speak on the phone. I was given a chance to hear the sounds of life.”

Justin is now committed to “paying it forward” and to doing what he can to support others who are deaf and to help as many as possible to get hearing aids. Through the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund, more than 7,500 hearing aids have been donated to children in need.

Justin said the benefits of hearing cannot be overstated.

“People have to hear. The things that we do every minute of every day depend on hearing. It’s how we communicate, how we socialize with friends and associate with loved ones,” he said.

While he understands firsthand the disadvantages, he remains positive, saying, “I have a personal motto: I may have hearing loss, but hearing loss doesn’t have me.”

Justin hopes his efforts will help others with hearing loss.

“Most of all, I want to help restore hope,” he said, “and to tell people, ‘Don’t let hearing loss hinder your dreams and aspirations.’”

He said he and his family are grateful to SottoPelle and the other event sponsors.

“It’s going to be a great event for all concerned,” Justin said.

The Hear in the Mesa 5K and Kids Run will be 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 at Superstition Springs Center, 6555 E. Southern Ave. To register, go to: www.run4hearing.com/arizona.

The concert will be that evening at 8 p.m. at Higley Center for the Performing Arts, 4132 E. Pecos Road in Gilbert. Tickets ($30) are available at www.higleyarts.com.

For information about the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund, visit www.oliveosmond.org.

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