Every year the Ear and Hearing Clinic in Elmira hosts a contest for the community to nominate people to receive free hearing aids.
“Often these are gifted to individuals who are unable to financially purchase an essential piece of technology that will assist them on their hearing journey,” said Victoria Bauman, executive assistant and communications manager for the clinic.
Juliana Schlegel is the audiologist, and owner of the clinic. “We initially started this campaign to show how different we are as a clinic – we’re not like every other clinic out there. Within our community we know there are people in need and we saw that there were people who couldn’t afford good quality hearing aids. This whole thing was created to help the community,” Schlegel said.
“I’m from Elmira – I was born and raised here. Having grown up here, and now owning a business in this community, I wanted to be able to give back to the people that helped get me to where I am today. This is something that is very near and dear to my heart.”
This year, the award has been renamed in honour of a staff member who passed away suddenly in 2021. Theresa Shillingford had worked at the clinic, mainly as a bookkeeper for the Kitchener location, since 2010. She also shared the bookkeeping work of the Elmira clinic.
“Theresa was such a lovely soul,” said Bauman. “She had such a calm and collected spirit that encouraged peace in every situation. She always looked for the positive in everything and every person, and was constantly looking for ways to bring about the best in others.
“When she laughed she brought an overwhelming joy to everyone around her. Her smile would light up her entire face and cause her eyes to sparkle. Theresa had such a wonderful gift to ask genuine questions and make you feel like you were the most important person in the conversation. She was always willing to lend a listening ear and offer help in any way she could.”
Shillingford passed away at the family cottage in July at the age of 59. She left behind her husband Clive, her sons David and Brian and Brian’s wife Zoe, as well as her brother Shawn and his wife Wendy and their son Casey.
“It was a very unexpected and sudden loss, which is what left such a large void in the Shillingford family as well as the Ear & Hearing Clinic family,” said Bauman.
Now, the contest will be known as the Theresa Shillingford Gift of Hearing Award.
This year, the award is going to a woman in her late 70s and a five-year-old girl who was born with hearing loss, says Bauman.
The ceremony and event to honour Shillingford is taking place today (Thursday) at 6 p.m. at the Elmira location of the Ear and Hearing Clinic at 69 Arthur St. S.