Middletown, N.J. – Imagine, even for a few seconds, what life would be like without the ability to hear. Think about everyday events like a baseball game, a chance meeting with a friend, a birthday party, a day at the office, or a special occasion in your life, and then visualize those same things with the absence of sound. West Keansburg resident Joan Moran, 84, knows all too well what a world of silence is like. For many years, the vibrant former journalist lived in isolation and was powerless to change her circumstances due to financial hardships. She could not afford a hearing aid.  “I can’t tell you how frustrating it is, to be isolated and in some respects, ostracized.  I have a college degree, made a good living, and yet had to endure being called ‘deaf and dumb’ because of my inability to hear,” Moran noted. She tried to obtain assistance, but those attempts failed until the Middletown Lions Club entered the picture. The club has a free hearing aid program for those who meet certain financial criteria. The program is administered in conjunction with the Lions International Affordable Hearing Aid Program, and as a result, Moran, who is the fifth individual to receive help from the club recently, now has the sounds of love and laughter in her life again. “It’s just amazing. I actually had a speech prepared,” joked Moran while attending a Lions meeting, “but instead I’ll just speak from my heart. Each and every one of you is an angel, an absolute angel,” she said emotionally when addressing the club membership.

Planning the ‘Run To Hear’ are, from left to right, Lions John Giordano, race director; Beverly Bova Scarano, hearing aid program chair; Middletown Lions Club President Lori Anne Oliwa; President-Elect Larry Caminiti; and hearing aid recipient Joan Moran.

To help those in the community like Moran, The Middletown Lions Club Charitable Foundation will host ‘Run To Hear,’ a 5k run/walk which will support the club’s free hearing aid program. All funds will be dedicated solely to the hearing aid program. Open to runners and walkers of all ages, the event will be held on Saturday, June 9 at Thompson Park, Lincroft, N.J., rain or shine, and will commence at 9 a.m. Check-in begins at 8 a.m. The entrance fee is $20 for each participant. A tee shirt is included with the fee, and medals and trophies will be awarded in all age groups. The course is a combination of grass, trails, and paved surfaces.

To encourage high school and college-age students to participate, a random drawing for a $1,000 scholarship will be held. The Josephine A. Fernicola Scholarship will be presented to a student who enters and finishes the race by Anthony Fernicola of Point Pleasant, N.J.  The scholarship will be made payable directly to the college of choice.

Registration forms are available on the website of the Middletown Lions Club, www.mlions.org, or by contacting ‘Run To Hear’ Chairman Lion John Giordano at (732) 996-7495. Tee shirt sponsorships are also available for $100. Checks should be made payable to the Middletown Lions Club Charitable Foundation and mailed to P.O. Box 75, Middletown, N.J. 07748, attention Lion John Giordano.

Chartered in 1946 under Lions International, the Middletown Lions Club is an all- volunteer service organization consisting of men and women who help the community through various charitable service and fundraising initiatives and programs. The club assists individuals and families in need both locally and globally through their unique 501C3 foundation, The Middletown Lions Club Foundation. The foundation supports programs including sight improvement and prevention of blindness, and administers eye, ear, and diabetes health screenings to the community. In addition, the all-volunteer vision screening team - the ‘Knights of Sight’ - provides free vision screenings for elementary school children in local school districts. To date, students in the Middletown Township, Red Bank, Hazlet Township, and Matawan-Aberdeen School Districts have been tested. Members also volunteer directly at St. Marks Food Pantry, Keansburg, by purchasing and preparing homemade meals for the hungry. The Middletown Lions Club underwrites free eye exams, eyeglasses, and hearing aids for those who cannot afford them and donates funds to local charities that advocate for disabled individuals, the visually-impaired, for women, and for families and children with special needs. Recently, the club formed a Women’s Council as a way to assess the needs of women and families in the community and then to help meet those needs through service projects and targeted fundraising events. To date, the Women’s Council has donated funds to 180 Turning Lives Around and The Beauty Foundation for Women’s Cancer Care.

Anyone wishing to donate funds for a specific Lions program or initiative should contact Lion President Lori Anne Oliwa at president@mlions.org. Checks should be made payable to the Middletown Lions Club Foundation and sent to P.O. Box 75, Middletown, N.J. 07748. All contributions to the foundation are tax-deductible. New members are welcome. The club meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at the Red Oak Diner & Lounge, Hazlet, N.J. For more information, view the website www.mlions.org.