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Friends rally to help city woman in fighting to overcome hearing loss

Sue Guinn Legg • Jun 27, 2018 at 9:10 PM

If you’ve ever eaten at Frazoli’s on North Roan Street there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve met Marcia Lovejoy, that she has taken your order and that she’s gone above and beyond to serve you.

With her husband, Charlie, Marcia is also a carrier for the Johnson City Press. And subscribers along their route are quick to attest to Marcia and Charlie’s attentiveness.

It’s the kind of person Marcia is. She loves to work. She loves being out in the community with people. She takes pride in a job well done. And other people notice.

But for the past two years, Marcia has struggled to hold on to all of the above.

Born with severe hearing impairment, Marcia wore the strongest hearing aids available for most of her life. In her 40s, she received a cochlear implant that vastly improved her hearing as well as her ability to communicate and to work. Now 55, she is once again going through a life-impacting loss of hearing.

The electronic device that attaches to her implant has failed. It’s too outdated to be retooled and she’s been told the replacement will cost her $10,000.

That’s $10,000 Marcia and Charlie do not have. So for two years she has gone without hearing as her speech, her ability to communicate and her earning capacity have progressively deteriorated.

In seeking help from Medicare/Medicaid, as she did for her cochlear implant, Marcia learned that coverage will not be possible as long as she is working.

The 15-month application process it took her to secure coverage for the implant, and more particularly the 15 months of unemployment it requires, is not something she wants to repeat.

Charlie is also disabled and his condition is getting worse. And neither of them want to be dependent on Marcia’s mother, Martha Dibble, who is a longtime member at Trinity Baptist Church.

Frustrated with this latest chapter in her daughter’s lifelong struggle to overcome her hearing impairment, Diddle said, “The government is penalizing people who want to work and need help.”

So friends at Trinity are rallying to help. Church member Dan Kyte has arranged for Marcia to undergo a new assessment at East Tennessee State University’s Audiology Clinic, which will look again at the cost of a remedy and search for any assistance that may be available to help.

In April, Trinity member Elton Ohara launched a GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/marshalovejoy to help raise funds for the cost. Without publicity, the account has so far attracted little attention but remains open for anyone who would like to help with an online donation.

And on Wednesday, Good Samaritan Ministries agreed to accept donations on Marcia’s behalf. For those who wish to contribute through the ministry, donations to Good Samaritan Ministries earmarked for Marcia Lovejoy may be made by mail to P.O. Box 2441, Johnson City, TN 37605 or online at www.goodsamjc.org.

If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at 423-722-0538, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605, or slegg@johnsoncitypress.com.

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