This Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, Merrill Osmond will sponsor the Youth Pioneer Pageant, a big-budget theatrical and non-denominational production that aims to represent the stories of Utah’s pioneers on their trek west.
But long after the fireworks end, the event’s fundraising aims are expected to live on in the ears of children around the valley.
Proceeds from this event will benefit the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund, which will present two local children nightly with a pair of hearing aids.
The mission of the nonprofit Olive Osmond Hearing Fund, named for the late matriarch of Utah’s most famous singing family, is to promote hearing-health awareness and help those who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. Since its inception in 2010, the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund has helped over 2,000 children receive the gift of hearing.
The Tribune talked to three of the six families who will be introduced at the weekend’s pageant performances. The children have already received hearing aids supplied by the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund and Utah-based company My Hearing Centers.
Kaden Wright • The Salt Lake City child recently made an unusual request as part of the celebrations for his 9th birthday.
His party featured a one-kilometer race organized by his family. In lieu of presents, Kaden earmarked entry fees for the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Utah. “He has a really big heart,” said Kaden’s mother, Karen Wright.
Kaden made the generous gesture because in late June, he received hearing aids, along with a year’s worth of batteries provided by Walgreens. Since receiving the hearing aids, Kaden and his family has noticed the benefits.
“Oh, yes,” said Kaden, who will attend the July 23 Pageant. “I can hear just about everything.”
Without the donation, the price of the hearing aids would have been cost-prohibitive, Karen Wright said. After all, a set of hearing aids can cost from $2,000 to $6,000, according to Dave Larsen, owner of My Hearing Centers.
Morgan Sutton • Morgan Sutton will have two thrills on July 21. It’s the day she turns 9, and she’ll be attending the Youth Pioneer Pageant.
Sutton has had the hearing aids for about three weeks, said her mother, Aimee Riddle, of Salt Lake City. “
She told me she’s really noticed a difference,” Riddle said. “Before, I would tell her to do something, and she would say, ‘What?’ I would think she was just being a kid.”
Morgan said that she can now “hear better when people talk.” In addition, she now hears her mother the first time when she is asked to clean her room, the 8-year-old added.
Phoenix Davis • Last year, when Phoenix Davis was 3, he threw his hearing aids out the window as his mother Kerra Davis was driving by a Walgreens at 10429 S. Redwood Road.
Kerra Davis was eight months pregnant at the time, but that didn’t prevent her from stopping the car and searching for the hearing devices. People driving by noticed a very pregnant woman on her hands and knees on the side of the road, and thinking that she was going into labor, stopped to help. She enlisted them to help look for the aids. too. Even the fire department responded, and shut down the road as she and her new-found kept looking, but the hearing aids were permanently lost.
Later, Phoenix was enrolled at the Utah School for Deaf & Blind, and was given a loaner pair. But at the end of this school year, he tested out of the school, so he had to give them back.
Justin Osmond, the CEO and founder of the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund, told the family not to worry. Right before the last day of school, Phoenix, now 4, courtesy of the Osmond fund and My Hearing Centers, received a new pair of hearing aids. He will be one of the children and their families introduced at the Pioneer Day Pageant.
“We went from the very, very bottom to the very, very top,” Kerra said about Phoenix’s new hearing aids. “I have noticed a big difference.”
The boy is ecstatic about his new hearing aids. After all, he can wear them in the pool all summer long.
Note: The Salt Lake Tribune is a media sponsor of Merrill Osmond’s Youth Pioneer Pageant.
Merrill Osmond’s Youth Pioneer Pageant
When • Saturday, July 21 at 8 p.m.; Monday, July 23 at 8 p.m.; Tuesday, July 24 at 8 p.m.
Where • West Jordan Arena, 8125 S. 2200 West, West Jordan
Tickets • $10-$15 at SmithsTix
Info • www.pioneerpageant.com