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      Jackie Edwards, 60, runs Marathon

      Being a busy grandmother-of-eight hasn’t stopped Jackie Edwards, 60, from taking on 26.2 miles that is the London Marathon this weekend. Hailing from Evesham in Worcestershire, Jackie has been deaf since the age of four and now wears two hearing aids. By running the marathon with her daughter, Bev, Jackie hopes to raise vital funds for Action on Hearing Loss, a charity that is close to her heart.

      By: Jackie Edwards | 18 April 2018

      “I have been deaf since the age of four and started wearing a hearing aid early on in life. It was very hard as other children were nasty. I always had to sit at the front of the class. It took a while to get used to it and everyday life. I wasn’t allowed swimming, I didn’t go to school discos or party’s as the noise was too loud and very uncomfortable. It was even hard to hear cars approaching. Anyway, I managed through school life playing sports, this is when I found my love for running at age 13. I felt I was able to be me, I felt free. As life has gone on, I got married, had children, but I always tried to keep my running up, even though sometimes it was hard.

      As I got older my hearing got worse. I ended up having multiple mastoid operations, the second one was bad, I had no balance for 14 weeks. It was very hard going and my hearing was not getting any better. Life was becoming a struggle, my hubby was away a lot with the army and I had to cope with the kids. No one really understood how hard it is to have hearing loss in normal day-to-day life. You can hardly hear what people are saying or what is going on around you.

      Around 1986, I had to have another operation and this is when I was told I was losing my hearing 100% and needed two hearing aids to help. At the age of 29 it’s not what you want to hear, but I knew if I wanted to get by in life this was it.

      I was fitted with two hearing aids, it was a nightmare, everything was extra loud, I heard things for the first time like the kettle boiling, iron steaming, toilet flushing whilst downstairs, but my most precious moment is when my late dad led me up the garden and told me to listen – I could hear the cuckoo for the very first time, it was lovely. I will never forget that.

      The last operation I had to have my ear bone removed, but life goes on. I think I have done well. I have had my ups and downs with my hearing. Along the way I have found it is best to explain to people, whoever they might be, that I am deaf, I am hard of hearing, and I’m sorry but would they mind speaking up or looking at me whilst they talk. People do not realise I am deaf because it doesn’t stand out like someone wearing glasses.

      In this day and age there is not a lot being said or done to raise awareness for the deaf. My two grandsons are fab with me and love helping me change the batteries and putting my hearing aids back in my ears. One grandson goes to school with a little girl who wears two hearing aids, and he helps her with them after swimming or P.E.. Teachers do not seem to be up-to-date with them, and this is why I think more money should be raised to help schools cope.

      Now I am running the Virgin London Marathon with my daughter, Bev. To raise vital funds I have been organising raffles, car boot sales, and through my hubby’s work. I did have my doubt about raising the amount of money needed, but I have been so overwhelmed with the generosity of people, friends, and family. I also have collection tins in shops. Even people I only know from walking my dog have donated. So chuffed! Sunday April 1st was our last and longest run until the big day. Now it’s time to get ready for that starting line, along with all the people who are running for Action on Hearing Loss. I hope from the bottom of my heart we can start making a difference to people like myself.”

      To donate and help raise vital funds for Action on Hearing Loss, click here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/actiononhearingloss/londonmarathon2018

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