Manila, Philippines (4E Sports) – Without the fanfare and noise that he usually receives during NFL games, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald quietly visited Manila recently and distributed hearing aids to poor Filipinos who badly need them.
Fitzgerald joined the Starkey Hearing Foundation in distributing hearing aids to hundreds of underprivileged adults and children at the University of Santo Tomas.
“It’s different from a lot of the charity work I’ve done, because you see people sitting here. They’re hard of hearing right now. But once you get them into a chair and fit them with a hearing aid, it’s like they were in the dark and you turn the light on,” Fitzgerald said in an interview with the Philippine Star.
While in Manila, Fitzgerald, together with Starkey Hearing Foundation executive director Brady Forseth and founder Bill Austin, had a chance to meet Filipino boxing superstar and congressman Manny Pacquiao.
During their meeting, Pacquiao has promised to help the foundation’s outreach program in his native General Santos City.
Aside from Manila, Fitzgerald also joined the foundation in distributing hearing aids in India and Singapore.
Fitzgerald said his involvement with Starkey and its founders Bill and Tani Austin started in their neighborhood in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
While on his way to and from his regular workouts, Fitzgerald said that he constantly see big groups of people in the Austin home.
“After a few months, I managed the courage to kind of just go knock on their door,” Fitzgerald said. “And they were so warm and friendly, and they told me about what they did, showed me pictures and took me on a tour of their facilities. I instantly fell in love with it.”
The Austins then invited Fitzgerald to a ten-day trip to India, which he immediately obliged.
The foundation started distributing hundreds of hearing aids in India in the 1970s as part of their motto “So the World May Hear”.
Presently, the foundation hands out at least 250 hearing aids a day and more than 100,000 a year in their goal to fulfill its mission.