03/06/11 — WC Cruisers to help pay for hearing

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WC Cruisers to help pay for hearing

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on March 6, 2011 1:50 AM

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Faith Strickland, 12, was born with extremely limited hearing. Now, having undergone 18 surgeries, the Wayne County Cruisers are hoping to help offset some of those medical bills.

While a sixth-grade social studies teacher at North Johnston Middle School last year, Lee Yahnker of Goldsboro was especially impressed by one of her students.

Faith Strickland, now 12 and a seventh-grader, always did her work, was very conscientious and got along well with her classmates; she even sang in the school talent show, Mrs. Yahnker said.

She also had some hearing problems and other complications since birth, the educator said. But it wasn't until a conversation one day that Mrs. Yahnker gained insight into some of what Faith had experienced in her young life.

Born with Goldenhar, a syndrome causing her to be born with no ear on the left side of her head and a very tiny ear on the right, she has had to wear hearing aids fashioned into a headband. To date, she has undergone 18 surgeries, the latest in November involving an implant that would alleviate her having to wear the headband.

"She's doing good," Melisa Holmes, Faith's mother, said Friday. "We still have to go back to have it hooked up, but hopefully won't have to have any more procedures. Her hearing right now is limited but she does well. She reads lips but she's limited with her hearing.

"She is on the honor roll at her school, so I think she does very well. With the (latest surgery) she is going to do so much better."

Mrs. Yahnker was so impressed by her student's fortitude and courage that she shared the story with her husband, Ed, a member of the Wayne County Cruisers.

The Crusiers, Ed explained, is a "family club," -- a fun way to gather and look at old cars. Annually, their biggest event has been participation in the Mount Olive Pickle Festival, although this year there is another occasion they are particularly proud of -- one prompted by the young Selma girl who was in his wife's class.

"(The club) was so taken by her story, they wanted to do something to help with expenses because (the family) goes back and forth all the time for treatments," he said. "There's a lot of things that are never covered by insurance."

Wayne County Cruisers is sponsoring a car show and fundraiser for Faith and her family on Saturday, March 26, the Yahnkers said.

It will be held from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the parking lot of EZ Choice, a window tinting company on U.S. 70 East near McCall's Bar-B-Que and Seafood. Rain date will be April 9.

There is no admission and cost for entries is $10. Raffle tickets are also on sale for $5 each. Donations are welcome.

"Any kind of car that they want to display, it doesn't have to be an antique or classic car," Yahnker said. "We're going to have displays of cars, probably some motorcycles.

"And trophies -- we'll offer 25 trophies, 'People's Choice' of participants based on their favorites, and the Faith Strickland choice, whichever car she decides she likes, she'll give them a trophy."

It's been a blessing to be the beneficiary of such support, said Ms. Holmes.

"(Faith) is just so overwhelmed. She's like, 'Mama, I can't believe they're doing this for us,'" she said. "It's just been an incredible thing because there's so much encouragement as far as the expense, all the costs you incur in terms of eating out, staying overnight. It means so much to us."

The Yahnkers are likewise impressed by how the family has also gotten involved by selling tickets to the upcoming event.

Faith has helped distribute flyers and is telling all her friends about the fundraiser, Ms. Holmes said. And other family members are also selling the $5 raffle tickets.

"We have sold so far over 100 and we have requested more," Ms. Holmes said. "We want to do our part, too."

Faith and her mother will be on hand at the March 26 event, and Ms. Holmes extended a special invitation to anyone interested in meeting and speaking with her daughter.

"Tell them they can come out that day and meet Faith," she said. "She'll show you her ears -- they made her ears out of her rib cartilage. She will show her ears off, she's been very proud of them."

For more information on the event or to enter a vehicle in the car show, phone 252-217-2315 or 919-330-4123, or go online to waynecountycruisers.com.