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Alabama Ear Institute Donates Books to Area Schools in Recognition of National Deaf History Month

Birmingham, Ala. - April 16, 2004 - The Alabama Ear Institute (AEI) in recognition of National Deaf History Month has donated copies of the book, Yes You Can Heather! by Daphne Gray to area middle school and high school libraries. Yes, You Can Heather! is the inspiring story of Heather Whitestone, a courageous young woman who refused to give up her dreams and became the first physically challenged Miss America in the pageant's history.

Ms. Whitestone is from Alabama and has been deaf since she was eighteen months old after having a high fever caused by Haemophilus influenza virus and meningitis. Determined to live a normal life, Heather was mainstreamed in a hearing public school for most of her early education. This book is also the story about her mother, Daphne Gray, who made agonizing choices and incredible sacrifices to enable her deaf daughter to achieve her dreams.

Alabama is home to more than 16,950 people who are deaf and more than 200,965 people considered hard of hearing and one of AEI's missions is to educate Alabama's children on the contributions of the deaf community so to increase awareness and acceptance of deaf culture.

America celebrates National Deaf History Month from March 13 to April 15, 2002. This time is traditionally set aside to educate the public on the contributions of deaf individuals and the history and values of the deaf culture.

Did you know that nerve deafness is the most common birth disorder in the United States? The Alabama Ear Institute is a 501 (c) (3) public, not-for-profit foundation dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults who are affected by loss of hearing. For more information on AEI's programs and services visit www.alabamaearinstitute.org.

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