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Annapolis cyclist rides to help deaf children

Jacob Landis raises funds for kids who need cochlear implants
Jacob Landis bikes across Kansas as a part of his cross-country bike ride to raise money for children to have cochlear implant surgeries. COURTESY JACOBSRIDE.ORG
July 28, 2015

Disabilities may inhibit some people, but not Jacob Landis. An Annapolis native, Landis completed a cross-country bike ride from Los Angeles to Ocean City on July 19 to raise money for deaf children vying for a cochlear implant - something he has personal experience with. Together with Delaware Hands and Voices, the Children’s Beach House in Lewes brought Landis in to share his story with other deaf or hard of hearing children in the area.

After being born with mild to moderate hearing loss, Landis’ hearing progressively worsened, and he struggled to obtain an implant until 1999, when he was 10 years old. “Over the years I just came to appreciate how much my father put in to helping me,” he said, attributing his gift of hearing to the dedication of his father. After having only minor issues over the years, Landis wanted to give something back.

In 2013, he wanted to use his love of cycling and baseball to bike to every major league ballpark, a Homerun for Hearing, in an effort to raise money for children in line for cochlear implants. Unfortunately, his ride was cut short when he was hit by a semi-truck before his last stop, but that didn’t deter him. “We took all the money we raised and we were able to pay for seven kids to get the cochlear implants,” said Landis. The procedures can range anywhere from $75,000 to $150,000 including the pre-surgery tests and the post-surgery therapy.

In 2015, Landis completed a new challenge: biking across the country in an effort called “Jacob’s Ride.” Starting on May 26, Landis peddled an average of 115 miles per day to stay on schedule and finish the 3,844 mile journey. He made numerous stops along the way to spread the word about his mission and educate others about deafness and cochlear implants, including meeting one of the children his organization helped.

“It was an amazing experience. We can’t assess candidates ourselves, so we work with the Gift of Hearing foundation in Boston,” said Landis.

To finish off the summer, Landis isn’t taking a break from his bike. After biking from coast to coast, he is planning on doing another Homerun for Hearing starting on Aug. 1.

Over only five days, he will bike from Bowie, Md., to Salisbury, Md., and visit the minor league ball parks along the way to complete a trip of over 500 miles. To support Landis and donate to the cause, or to simply follow his story, visit JacobsRide.org.

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