Hear, Hear: EJ Celebrates 50th By Giving Back

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Whitewater paddling icon and Whitewater Hall of Famer Eric “EJ” Jackson is helping celebrate his half-century birthday with a fundraiser — and an ambitious goal to raise $50,000 for the Starkey Hearing Foundation.

Contribute $50 or more on Jackson’s Crowdrise fundraising site, “So the World May Hear,” to be eligible to win a boat of choice from Jackson Kayak’s extensive line of whitewater, touring and kayak fishing boats. Jackson explained his reasons for the campaign in a self-made video that can be found on YouTube.

Some may not know, but Jackson has a personal connection to his campaign aimed at helping Starkey Hearing Foundation provide 100,000 hearing aids to people in need each year. Jackson and his son and fellow World Champion kayaker Dane Jackson, 20, have both had severe hearing loss since they were very young. Jackson’s youngest son, KC, has partial hearing loss.

Jackson’s life and career as an athlete and successful business owner has been intertwined with whitewater rivers. He has been a member of the USA Canoe Kayak National Team for 25 consecutive years, first as a kayak slalom Olympian then as one of the leading pioneers of freestyle kayaking technique and equipment innovation.

Jackson said he has been impressed with Starkey Hearing Foundation’s commitment to fit 1 million hearing aids this decade to people around the world that would otherwise not have access to hearing care. “Hearing is something most people take for granted. But if you can’t hear or suffer partial hearing loss, the gift of hearing is a miracle, and I want to join Starkey Hearing Foundation in helping get hearing aids in the ears of those in the U.S. and abroad who can’t afford them.”

The deadline to contribute to Jackson’s campaign is July 20. The winner for a new Jackson Kayak boat will be selected and notified soon after.

“Eric Jackson understands the immeasurable impact the gift of hearing can have on someone’s quality of life,” said William F. Austin, founder of Starkey Hearing Foundation. “His passion is an inspiration, and with the help of dedicated people like him, we are able to provide the gift of hearing to thousands around the world each year.”

Founded in 2003 by Eric Jackson, family-owned and American-made, Jackson Kayak is a world leader in the design and manufacturing of whitewater kayaks and kayak fishing boats as well as expedition touring kayaks. For complete information about the company’s products and lifestyle, visit the Jackson Kayak website.

Starkey Hearing Foundation uses hearing as a vehicle to reflect caring and change lives around the world. Disabling hearing loss affects more than 360 million people, including 32 million children, worldwide, yet many do not have access to the hearing devices that can help them. Starkey Hearing Foundation fits and gives more than 100,000 hearing aids annually, and as a member of President Clinton’s Global Initiative, it has pledged to fit one million hearing aids this decade. In addition to giving the gift of hearing through worldwide hearing missions, Starkey Hearing Foundation promotes hearing health awareness and education through the Listen Carefully campaign and provides hearing instruments to low-income Americans through the Hear Now program. For more information on Starkey Hearing Foundation, visit starkeyhearingfoundation.org.

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