Herman Jenkins, MD, Marion Downs, Donny Osmond and John Schneider

By Erika Matich | University Communications

Marion Downs
turned 100 over the weekend and received an amazing gift. A $1 million donation
from the Anschutz Foundation means Downs and the center created in her vision, the
Marion Downs Hearing Center (MDHC), are one step closer to a new facility.

(Photo above, from right to left: Herman Jenkins, MD, Marion Downs, Donny Osmond and John Schneider)

The Celebrating
the Legacy Awards Gala was held the last weekend of January 2014 to raise money
for the facility, located at the University of Colorado Hospital on the
Anschutz Medical Campus. Including the donation from the Anschutz Foundation,
the event raised about $1.5 million. The new building will cost about $20
million and total amount raised to date approaches $5 million.

Donny Osmond performed at the gala. Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider acted
as host. The hope is the event will become annual fundraiser for MDHC and will
also raise awareness for hearing health.

For Justin
Osmond, Donny’s nephew and director of sponsorships and corporate relations at
MDHC, helping people with deafness and hearing loss is personal for him and his

After having
two sons with profound hearing loss, Justin’s grandmother, Olive Osmond,
recognized families need resources and support. Downs, professor emeritus at
University of Colorado School of Medicine, led the way for the hearing
screening of every newborn baby in the United States.

“Their vision
of helping people was fairly similar,” said Justin Osmond of his grandmother
and Downs, Justin has a hearing loss detected when he was two years-old. “We are hoping to make this an annual event
and bring other members the family here to perform.”

The new
building will be a premier hearing facility housing education, research and
clinical care for people with hearing loss and their families.

“There are 36 million Americans affected by
hearing loss in this country,” said Sandra Gabbard, PhD, MDHC’s executive
director. “Approximately 80 percent of those people aren’t getting any help. Many
of them are withdrawing because they can’t hear and they are missing out on
precious time with friends and family.”

It’s expected the new facility will allow MDHC
to expand existing programs and create opportunities to serve the deaf and hard
of hearing community.

“My grandmother saw a need so she started a
foundation to help families get hearing aids for their children,” said Justin.
”Marion is the pioneer in pediatric audiology. Everybody wants to know her.
It’s a perfect partnership. “

Contact: [email protected]

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