Hailing from Annapolis, Maryland, Jacob Landis and his foundation, “Jacob’s Ride” combine Jacob’s passion for cycling, baseball games, and cochlear implants awareness in a fun and interactive way for both Jacob and his supporters.
Although born hearing, by the time Jacob entered Kindergarten, he had begun wearing hearing aids or as he lovingly referred to them as, “Power Ranger ears”. However, by the time Jacob had entered third grade, Jacob began to grow more frustrated and began to see his hearing aids less as “Power Ranger ears” but more of something that made him different from everybody else.
“After third grade, my hearing fell dramatically and it led to me withdrawing from everyone and all activities,” says Jacob. “I stopped playing sports, dropped out of Boy Scouts. I was afraid of not hearing the smoke detectors at night. I was beginning to forget what things sounded like, and it bothered me, because I could remember having hearing.”
Just as Jacob was starting to lose hope, he learned that he was eligible for cochlear implants and received cochlear implant surgery in the fourth grade. After the surgery, Jacob slowly got back into sports, had a paper route at age 10, and continued his education where he would eventually go on to receive an associate degree from Anne Arundel Community College as well as take classes at the University of Maryland.
Although still adapting to life with his implants, Jacob says he can’t imagine living without them and wishes to spread both awareness as well as help provide financial support to those seeking the surgery so that others can experience the benefits of cochlear implants.
This wish became a reality for Jacob in the form of “Jacob’s Ride” which involved Jacob cycling across the country to Major League Baseball games where he had the ability to raise money for those in need of cochlear implant surgery as well as meet and speak to his many supporters.
“It was a massive undertaking that only happened because of too many volunteers to count,” says Jacob. “The volunteers, the supporters, the team, they all depended on me for one thing: to ride my bike and keep up with the schedule. To this day I don’t know who worked harder: me, riding 10,666 miles, or the Annapolis (family and friends) and Boston (Gift of Hearing Foundation) teams organizing the whole thing and raising money.”
Jacob hopes in the future to take another bike ride across the country but also would like to include speaking at schools and events in an effort to spread cochlear implant surgery awareness and meet his supporters, something he was unable to do during the bike ride due to its rigid schedule.
For more information on Jacob or to make a donation to “Jacob’s Ride,” visit his website at www.jacobsride.com.