Many of our members and staff give back to the community and help change lives by donating to Royal Resorts Foundation community and conservation causes. For some this also includes contributing their time and skills as Royal Resorts Foundation volunteers. We recently met two Royal Resorts members from Canada, Dr. Gregory Mistal (Doctor of Audiology at Kennedy Hearing Centre, Coquillan, British Columbia) and Mrs. Barbara Mistal who generously gave their time and expertise during their vacation at The Royal Haciendas to carry out 11 days of hearing tests for Royal Resorts staff and their families. They also donated 55 hearing aids to patients ranging from an eight-year-old girl to the 96-year-old father of an employee.
Dr Mistal has been a hearing specialist for 47 years and during his career he has collaborated in hearing programs for indigenous communities in northern Canada and in the Amazon region of Ecuador. He says, “It’s been my life, I’ve been an audiology specialist for 47 years, and I love it.”
He tells us what made them decide to volunteer during their Royal Resorts vacation. “We first stayed at The Royal Mayan and we saw people greeting the staff as though they were family and when we talked to the employees we found that many of them had been with Royal Resorts for 25 years. Everyone seemed so happy, visitors and staff. We said to ourselves, what is this place? We wanted to know more about the Royal Resorts community and we became members at The Royal Haciendas. We have been made to feel so welcome by everyone over the years and we just wanted to give something back. We saw a Royal Resorts Foundation flyer and decided to volunteer. This is our second year of doing hearing tests; in 2018 we did it at The Royal Haciendas and this year in Cancun too.”
Anyone who has a relative or friend coping with deafness has seen the signs as their hearing loss worsens. They become quieter and often withdrawn, frustrated if they don’t catch something you say or misinterpret it, and they lose confidence. Over time, they can become cut off from their loved ones and the world.
Hearing tests and aids are expensive and people will often cope with hearing loss rather than seek help. Through the Royal Resorts Foundation and the Human Development department, Royal Resorts employees were invited to make an appointment for themselves or for relatives to see Dr. Mistal.
Barbara Mistal says, “I lost count of how many people we saw during the 11 days of tests but there were many of them. We donated 55 hearing aids to patients that needed them and boxes of batteries too. We also did several ear cleaning procedures and the patients immediately noticed the difference.
“The hearing aids are brand new and we purchase them back home,” Dr. Mistal explains “They are from lines that have been discontinued in Canada but that are still available elsewhere.”
He adds, “We look at everyone who needs help. One of our patients was a quiet eight-year-old girl called Rafaella with 60 percent hearing loss. We gave her two hearing aids and it was the start of a new life for her. She was immediately on Facebook with her friends showing them photos of her hearing aids, she was so happy! It was her birthday too and the whole family came the next day to thank us. We also gave a hearing aid to an employee at The Royal Haciendas who is a grandmother and she asked if she could bring her granddaughter in who is nine years old and it turned out that she needed one too, so we were able to help them both.
“Last year we met David, the 14-year-old son of a The Royal Cancun employee who is totally deaf in one ear and has 10 percent hearing in the other,” relates Barbara Mistal. “He was unresponsive, literally in his own world, we couldn’t get a smile out of him. We were able to give him a power hearing aid and this year he is a different boy, smiling and outgoing. We were also happy to hear that the Royal Resorts Foundation is arranging for him to have speech therapy as part of the Employee Emergency Relief program.
“One elderly gentleman in a wheelchair traveled 15 hours by bus from Veracruz to see us,” says Dr. Mistal. “And when I fitted hearing aids for the 96-year-old he just put his head on my shoulder and hugged me. We have seen faces light up in joy and we have shared smiles, tears and laughter. It means so much to them and their loved ones. We are happy to be able to help them.”
A heartfelt thank-you to Dr. and Mrs. Mistal for their kindness and generosity, for being Royal Resorts Foundation volunteers and helping to change lives.
If you would like to be Royal Resorts Foundation volunteers we would love to hear from you. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the Royal Resorts Foundation’s education, health, community and conservation causes and to donate online, visit www.royalresortsfoundation.org
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