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Cochlear implant recipient bicycles across country to help others receive device

24-year-old bicycling enthusiast from Maryland adds love of baseball to his adventure

Posted: July 17, 2013 7:16 p.m.
Updated: July 17, 2013 7:16 p.m.

Jacob Landis, 24, looks at a wall of patents as he tours the manufacturing facility of Advanced Bionics in Valencia on Wednesday. Landis is a recipient of a cochlear implant produced by the Valencia company. Signal photo by Jonathan Pobre

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After losing his hearing by the time he was 10, Jacob Landis of Annapolis, Maryland, received a cochlear implant from the Valencia-based biomedical company Advanced Bionics.

Now, at age 24, Landis is mixing his love of baseball and bicycling with his mission to raise funds for children who cannot afford the hearing aid in a campaign he’s calling “Jacob’s Ride.”

Biking across the country, Landis is visiting all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums in the United States while on his fundraising drive.

He attended the Los Angeles Dodgers game Sunday and plans to attend the Los Angeles Angels game on Friday.

“I’ve always been a Baltimore Royals fan,” Landis said. “I’ve been a cyclist for about three years.”

On Wednesday, Advanced Bionics held a barbecue for its employees and local implant recipients and rewarded Landis with the second installment of the company’s donation to Jacob’s Ride, an amount that was determined by a social media “sharing” campaign.

The company, the sole manufacturer of cochlear implants, gave $1 for every time someone shared the company’s Facebook post about “Jacob’s Ride” with Facebook friends. The amount reached $4,453.

“I’d like to say thank you to Advanced Bionics,” Landis said during an interview Wednesday. “It’s been a great opportunity. We have 30 different cities we have to arrive at.”

Landis hopes to raise $1 million over the six months during his journey. By Wednesday, he had biked over half of the planned 10,500-mile route, had visited 21 of the stadiums and had raised about $85,000, he said.

“It has been great seeing the country at 13 miles an hour instead of 75,” he said.

Landis began to lose his hearing at age 2, and by age 10 his hearing aids were no longer helping. Landis was denied his implant two times before he was approved.

“It completely changed the trajectory of my life,” he said of his implant.

“Back in 1999, it (a cochlear implant) wasn’t really covered by insurance. My dad had to cash out his 401K.”

Donations to Jacob’s Ride can be made online at www.jacobsride.com. To send an automatic $10 gift, text “Jacob” to 50555.

 

 

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