Well every now and again you find out a little nugget of information that you never knew before and today it happened again.
I was reading a story in “The Times” this morning about a girl from Gateshead, Jo Milne, who heard for the very first time at 40 when her cochlear implants were turned on. The story was very moving and interesting in itself but what really got me was the work she’d been doing with The Hearing Fund UK. I’m always interested in charities working on hearing loss but I was amazed to find out I knew nothing about this fund or that it was set up by Olive Osmond, mother of the seventies pop group “The Osmonds”.
As a fan of 70’s music I was glued to BBC 1’s “Top of the Pops” every week and thrilled to all those top ten hits by Mud, Showaddywaddy, David Cassidy and Donny Osmond. But I never actually knew that the first two Osmond children were born deaf and the Osmond family (Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay) began their musical career as a barber-shop quartet to help raise money to buy hearing aids for their deaf brothers. Well knock me down with a feather!
Raised on a farm and too poor to buy hearing aids, the Osmonds family did something quite remarkable – originally setting up “The Osmond Foundation”, the programme has grown and become what is now known worldwide as The Children’s Miracle Network (CMN), generating more than $4bn dollars for children’s hospitals around the world and helping more than 17 million children every year. I find that absolutely staggering!
All those years of swooning over my Donny Osmond poster on the bedroom wall, watching them on the Andy Williams show and singing away to their catchy pop songs, but I never knew the actual reason they began singing in the first place. I actually find this oddly emotional and quite moving. It restores your faith in human nature to know that so much good can come from such humble beginnings …. and, even better, that it’s all aimed at helping deaf children around the world. I’d say that really IS making a difference!