An orchestrator, a team leader, an advocate, an entrepreneur, an athlete, a survivor, a visionary who dares to dream beyond present parameters, and possesses an energy to take all she does to the next level. Lori Frisher was born with a moderate to severe hearing loss. She spent 30+ years relying on hearing aids in both ears. While in junior and senior high school she competed at varsity levels in numerous sports. With certain limitations from her hearing aids in the arena, she still competed at an extremely high level while not audibly hearing the immediate signals.
Late in her sophomore year at the University of Hartford, she earned a spot on the Division I tennis team as a walk-on. After her first year, her competitive and academic achievements earned her an academic and athletic scholarship. She had the honor to be elected commencement speaker at her college graduation speaking before an audience of 8,000 people earning her a standing ovation from her graduating class. After a few years entering the workforce, in 1998 she was diagnosed with 3rd stage skin cancer but nothing stopped her to keep on going.
Lori has an entrepreneurial drive in all aspects of her life. With the economy faced with hard times, she developed a corporate seasonal gift giving basket program in Denver along with working as an account executive. She would like to continue to share her commitment and passion through her diverse experience in media, advertising, public speaking, business development, event planning, community relations and being a spokesperson in the corporate and not for profit sectors. Her volunteer work with Cancer League Colorado, Families First Colorado, Listen Foundation, Foster Sports, Invisible Disabilities Association, Achilles Track Club, Alan T. Brown Paralysis Foundation, U.S. Paralympics, Disabled Sports USA, Special Olympics NY and National Multiple Sclerosis Society is just a sampling of her talent and energy supporting people with life challenging circumstances.
In late 2010, when this internal and ground-breaking technology called Esteem was activated Lori’s world of sound opened up. It is the first FDA approved fully implantable hearing device intended to alleviate moderate to severe sensorineural hearing loss. For the first time she heard running water in the shower, the sound of a kiss, eating a french fry, hail on her car roof, has been able to participate in pool conversations with her hair wet, her sister calling her from another room, the sound of an airplane engine while boarding, the ambulance sirens from the distance, participates in conversations from the back seat of a car, birds chirping, her dog panting, understands more words to music to the instrumental sounds, appreciates the sound of a tennis ball bouncing, the day to day experiences that we take for granted. In reality, 9-week phase from implant to activation took more than 50% of her available hearing until she was “activated”.
Prior to her surgery , Lori connected with a local Denver video company, Impact Images to document her journey. Conveying her story to the producers, she inspired them to begin filming what she hopes will become a documentary in the near future on her life experience, challenges with the invisible, and journey into the hearing community.What resonates greatly with Lori is increasing her audio capabilities with no physical indication of her disability. Some people have treated her differently when they learned she was hard of hearing. She equates this to several good friends of hers who live and manage their invisible disability.
In June 2011, Channel 2 “Everyday” host and television anchor, Natalie Tysdal contacted Lori to let her know her story that aired on their show was nominated for an EMMY. She was featured in November 2011, as a feature headline story in 5280 magazine. This is an achievement that Lori believes will change people’s perceptions of hearing loss and the beginning of her sharing her story on a national and hopefully a global scale.
Lori is so grateful to be able to experience the technological advancements our society has developed to create hope for many across the globe. Lori’s desire is to create an inspirational message for all people challenged with the invisible and physical disabilities. That no matter what adversity one faces, that a strong sense of self will allow one to realize their potential no matter what obstacles society puts before us. She is thankful to her family, friends, teachers, coaches, and colleagues who believe in her everyday of her life. Lori is looking forward to the best of what is to come by sharing her passion and commitment to make a difference.
Lori Speaking at the 2011 Invisible Disabilities Association Awards Banquet
Lori being interviewed on 9 NEWS in Denver.