Daily Dispatch senior sub-editor Tim Stones, 37, and Janice Jonker, 39, now an admin clerk in Pretoria, came second and third in the pageant which creates awareness for funds required for cochlear implants, an operation which restores signals to the brain and enables deaf people to hear.
“Deaf people have to strive higher and push harder just to be accepted as equals in the hearing world. I have done so and hope to use this platform to encourage other deaf people to realize their God-given potential,” said Stones, who had to step out of his “comfort zone” to compete.
Nattily clad in a maroon suit and black shirt, Stones sailed down the catwalk to the Titanic soundtrack and clinched the First Prince sash.
Stones, a dedicated runner and campaigner for the Decibel Cochlear Campaign, is planning to raise funds by becoming the first deaf person in the world to complete a 600km, six-day race next year.
Jonker, who also has profound hearing loss and wears a high-tech hearing aid, said she was initially reluctant to enter the competition because she felt she was carrying extra kilos.
Jonker, who attended a Cape Town boarding school for the deaf for most of her schooling, but matriculated at Stirling High School, said she had enjoyed learning to strut down the catwalk following a week of workshops.
Although she had to rely on an interpreter to hear the all-important winner announcements, Jonker said she was proud to be crowned second runner-up. “I was very surprised because there were 11 other lovely finalists.”
She said her aim now was to raise funds to help another contestant acquire a hearing aid. She is also in the process of raising money for a boy who may qualify for a cochlear implant.
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