Jacob Landis’ listening to loss has affected him in some ways. The isolation he skilled rising up with listening to loss led to melancholy and drug habit as an adolescent. Then, he took a journey he known as “Jacob’s Journey,” during which he rode his bike to all 30 Main League Baseball stadiums to boost cash for cochlear implant surgical procedures, which modified his life. Now a documentary about him is within the works.
Jacob’s Journey happened when Jacob Landis, now 32, of Annapolis, Maryland, was determining what it was he wished to do along with his life. He had spent nearly 4 years at his area people faculty, by no means fairly determining what profession he ought to be working towards. When his dad, Randy Landis, requested him, “What do you wish to do?” his response was, “I simply wish to journey my bike.”
Landis was born with gradual listening to loss and obtained a cochlear implant in 1999 when he was 10 years outdated. The surgical procedure drastically modified his life for the higher and allowed him to “breathe once more.” Wanting to save lots of individuals from the identical isolation that he skilled earlier than implantation, an thought got here to him. By combining his three greatest passions – biking, baseball, and advocating for listening to loss — Landis set his life upon a path that led him instantly in direction of his objective. He determined he would journey over 10,000 miles to all 30 Main League baseball stadiums in an effort to boost cash for individuals to obtain cochlear implant surgical procedure. Thus Jacob’s Journey was born.
Planning for Jacob’s Journey
When the thought for a cross nation fundraising cycle first got here to Landis, he initially thought it might final a single baseball season. He by no means set out with a long run purpose. At greatest, he hoped he would get to journey 11,000 miles by way of some stunning surroundings and see some nice baseball video games alongside the way in which. He thought that on a regular basis spent on his bike might additionally assist him take into consideration the longer term.
As quickly as Landis started figuring out the logistics for the journey, the truth of the planning, effort and power that goes into this form of journey dawned on him. He realized he wasn’t going to have the ability to pull this off alone. Fortunately, assist was at hand. “It was by no means simply me doing this,” Landis defined. “It was my dream and thought, however nearly instantly many family and friends members obtained concerned.”
Whereas his father (who immediately is Govt Director of Jacob’s Journey) labored on recruiting volunteers and native companies who might help the undertaking, Landis targeted on the cycle’s bodily challenges. He labored with a bodily coach, bicycle coach, and nutritionist, ensuring his physique was ready for the calls for of a six month bike journey. He additionally took cost of planning out the bike route, extensively researching the 30 baseball crew schedules to determine if the sport sequence was attainable.
The Present of Listening to Basis
Probably the most useful help Jacob’s Journey acquired was supplied by The Present of Listening to Basis (GOHF), based by Eileen Jones. The small charity was established to offer monetary support for cochlear implant surgical procedures for individuals who lack the non-public means to pay for them. Jones unleashed her well-connected board members and several other nationwide contacts to start out organizing each main metropolis that Landis was planning to go to. GOHF volunteers secured dozens of host houses for him, which supplied strong meals and cozy locations to sleep. On April third, 2013, Landis set off on the six month quest that may problem him in methods he might have by no means predicted.
In 2014, he completed the journey, elevating over $250,000. Ten years on, and Jacob’s Journey has advanced right into a nonprofit charity that’s all volunteer based mostly, delivering cochlear implantation and altering lives of People whose pricey surgical procedure charges aren’t coated by insurance coverage. Talking of the expertise, Landis stated, “My world grew to become greater.”
“My world grew to become greater.”
Till 2017, the Jacob’s Journey crew’s sole focus was placing collectively occasions and elevating cash to ship to GOHF. They have been those who did the painstaking work of negotiating the charges and expenses of the surgical procedures. Then within the fall of 2018, GOHF ceased operations and Jacob’s Journey for Listening to took over administrative procedures and financing CI surgical procedures instantly. It was the most important development Jacob’s Journey had seen when it comes to its scope and features. They’ve been offering candidates with implantation ever since.
Making use of for Funding
The applying course of which will be accessed on Jacob’s Journey web site is easy and accessible. “We’ve by no means needed to say no to somebody who meets our standards and has efficiently gone by way of the appliance course of,” Landis stated. As soon as the required info, software and supportive materials are supplied, the crew places collectively the appliance package deal and ensures it’s clear and constant. To place the choice course of in perspective, Jacob’s Journey receives between 60 – 80 requests per yr. The choice standards is restricted:
1. Just one cochlear implant per applicant
2. Audiological exams that verify that the mixed listening to (each ears) are lower than 50 % listening to functionality
3. U.S. hospitals solely – The overwhelming majority of requests (80 %) are for listening to aids or from international international locations. Subsequently, over the past 4 years, they’ve issued solely roughly 50 functions. For those who suppose you’re eligible and meet this standards, then you possibly can request an software from them right here.
One household who was given the reward of listening to by way of this course of was the Mohney household. At some point, they realized their two-year-old son James was not responding to them. He was always in tears from the isolation he was experiencing attributable to his listening to loss. James wanted to get surgical procedure quick earlier than his listening to loss started to intervene along with his speech improvement. The household was advised their insurance coverage plan didn’t cowl the CI surgical procedure.
Watch their coronary heart touching journey and James getting what his sister calls his “magic ears” right here.
Throughout the journey in 2013, Landis — who has labored at Entire Meals for a few years — spent the entire summer season residing on the highway, 20-25 miles at a time.
“Simply strolling my bike to the stadium in Miami after getting hit by a truck was an enormous second,” he says. “It was half a yr of simply driving. I didn’t care an excessive amount of about not ending the final 180 miles since I knew I might have achieved it – Florida may be very flat! Simply the sensation of being completed with one thing so huge was such a great feeling. I did return to Florida the next spring to pedal these 180 undone miles, only for closure.”
One other defining second was the start of the journey, when all the things was nonetheless but to come back. Landis had ridden 450 miles when he discovered himself with per week off between video games in New York as a result of residence schedule of the Mets and Yankees.
“I had a complete week of simply sitting and ruminating concerning the 10,000 miles left in entrance of me,” he recalled.
Along with elevating cash for an necessary trigger, Landis handed many private milestones on the journey. One in every of these concerned crossing his first ever mountain vary by way of the Appalachian Mountains in Upstate New York the place his bodily skills have been put to the take a look at. The temperatures have been freezing attributable to how far north he was. He knew the mountain ranges out West have been solely going to get greater.
“Nothing actually prepares you in your first mountain vary,” he stated. “I didn’t take into account quitting, however for the primary time I questioned my capacity to truly do the driving. It actually felt like I needed to relearn how you can journey my bike. Occupied with the entire help I had acquired and the entire individuals with listening to loss who had begun displaying up at baseball video games to cheer me on actually helped me to maintain going.”
Via his journey and assembly different individuals with listening to loss, Landis realized so much. He’s a greater self-advocate. He has additionally began utilizing new assistive listening gadgets and is extra snug in his personal pores and skin. In consequence, he extremely recommends assembly others with listening to loss, as it’s validating, rewarding, and academic.
Listening to Loss and Psychological Well being
The battles Landis has ridden out haven’t been solely bodily. Landis has spoken candidly concerning the dangerous results that listening to loss had on his psychological well being, which led him right into a darkish interval of melancholy and battle with drug habit. Regardless of receiving a cochlear implant at age 10, he had already skilled extreme isolation. That trauma can simply observe into maturity, which is what occurred in Landis’ case. He handled it even throughout his journey.
His message for different individuals coping with the identical struggles is that they aren’t alone.
“Having listening to loss is so troublesome,” Landis stated. “It may be so socially debilitating, but additionally invisible on the identical time. Discovering a supportive group and even just some associates is so necessary. I simply wished to be accepted by my friends. I knew I used to be completely different, but it surely was exhausting to slot in. In noisy environments, I typically didn’t perceive all the things that was talked about. Once I went to eating places with a gaggle, I didn’t have the non-public confidence to advocate for myself.”
“Discovering a supportive group and even just some associates is so necessary.”
If Landis might speak to his youthful self, earlier than his surgical procedure, he stated he would make it clear that the surgical procedure isn’t a treatment.
“Once I obtained the implant in 1999, there actually weren’t loads of close by sufferers. I used to be so profitable that I used to be known as an “All-Star,” and I used to be recruited by John Hopkins to talk to different households and even communicate to engineering college students about how profitable I used to be with the implant.”
A Needed Path
These days, the success of Landis’ surgical procedure can be anticipated attributable to his age and progressive nature of his listening to loss. However as a younger, 10 yr outdated child, he internalized the concept that he was fastened and that it might be nearly unreasonable to anticipate something extra.
“I didn’t look into upgrades or something for a very long time,” he stated. “I used to be very static in what I made a decision I might or couldn’t do, listening to clever. I positively repressed among the frustrations and challenges that I skilled in center faculty and highschool. If I might return in time to speak to myself in highschool, I might inform myself to cease utilizing medication in an try to slot in, after which a yr later, inform myself to cease utilizing medication to deal with the ache of nonetheless not becoming in, regardless of the medication and alcohol. However I don’t suppose I’d have listened. I believe I needed to undergo what I did. I don’t know what the reply is, or if there’s a single reply for everybody. I do know that having a wholesome help system, a detailed good friend or two, and no less than some reference to the listening to loss group has helped immensely.”
Jacob’s Journey on the Huge Display
Being a widely known recipient of the cochlear implant, Landis — who married in 2019 and had his first little one in 2020 — was contacted by the producers of the upcoming film “Rally Caps.” They supplied him a small, non-speaking function within the film that stars Academy Award nominee Judd Hirsch. The movie is an adaptation of Jodi Cutler and Stephen J Cutler’s acclaimed coming of age baseball novel that includes a robust deaf protagonist.
Landis didn’t want a lot time to deliberate on the provide. Throughout his time on set, he spoke with different movie crews capturing interviews and behind the scenes photographs. Just a few weeks later, movie producer Artwork Rubalcava known as to debate capturing a documentary following Landis’ listening to loss journey. Landis agreed to the expertise; he loves watching documentaries and by no means thought his expertise warranted one.
“However sitting down and getting interviewed over many hours made me understand that trying again, it was a very wonderful factor to stay by way of,” he stated.
In mid-October, Rubalcava and his videographer travelled to Annapolis and formally started capturing for “Jacob’s Journey.” It was an intense begin to filming, with Landis and his household individually sitting by way of two-hour interviews and answering questions that Landis described as very private. They introduced again troublesome recollections.
In February, they traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana, to seize the cochlear implant activation of an eight-year-old lady for whom Jacobs’s Journey had supplied monetary help. On the finish of April, they traveled to Durham, NC, retracing round 70 miles of Jacob’s 2013 bike journey, which was captured with drone photographs. They interviewed a number of cochlear implant customers alongside the way in which.
The launched preview supplies a glimpse into the numerous layers of Landis’ life. Battling substance abuse and habit whereas residing with listening to loss is one thing that isn’t mentioned sufficient, but in line with Listening to Associates of Northern Virginia LLC, people with listening to loss are nearly twice as prone to have substance abuse points in comparison with listening to individuals. Tales like Landis’ will assist many individuals combating habit know they aren’t alone.
“…people with listening to loss are nearly twice as prone to have substance abuse points in comparison with listening to individuals.”
Whereas the Kickstarter failed to satisfy its purpose, Landis’ father stated he and the producer have personally funded the undertaking so far and it will likely be accomplished. Many of the story has been written and many of the filming is finished. There isn’t any rush or deadline, so keep tuned!
As for Landis, he hopes the documentary can be fascinating and engrossing.
“I hope the documentary can clarify why these with listening to loss can simply develop into unhappy, depressed, drained and lonely,” he added. “All of us lengthy for social acceptance and wealthy friendships, and listening to loss can hinder each.”