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Gift to fund speech rehabilitation for underserved Arizonans

Valley Toyota Dealers Association donates $25K to the ASU Speech and Hearing Clinic in the College of Health Solutions

Photo collage of a clipboard, stethescope and medications surrounding the words speech therapy

"Speech Therapy" by Nick Youngston. Used with permission under Creative Commons license BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images

July 27, 2021

Consider these two cancer patients: 

John successfully completed treatment for tongue cancer. At the beginning of radiation therapy, his doctor recommended speech-language pathology services to rehabilitate his talking and swallowing abilities, but he couldn’t afford the copays, so he didn’t do the therapy. Nine years later, John’s speech is hard to understand, and he often chokes while eating and drinking.

Mark's treatment for cancer of the voice box was also successful, but unlike John, he started speech therapy before his radiation sessions even began, working with speech-language pathologists who helped him eat, drink and talk throughout his treatment. After he finished radiation, he continued therapy at home to keep his voice and swallowing muscles working properly. Today, Mark is back at work and has resumed his normal life.

Thanks to a gift from a local business association to the ASU Speech and Hearing Clinic at Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions, more Arizonans will have the chance to afford life-changing speech therapy like Mark’s to improve their quality of life after an injury or illness.

The Valley Toyota Dealers Association, an organization of the Toyota dealers in the metropolitan Phoenix area, has donated $25,000 to the ASU Speech and Hearing Clinic to fund therapy for its clients in need. The clinic annually offers services free or at reduced cost to about 10 of its more than 300 patients, thanks to donor contributions. However, at least 50 people whose income would qualify them for financial support are turned away each year because funding isn’t available. This gift helps close the clinic’s gap in services, funding treatment for those 50 patients. In addition, the funds allow students in the college’s Master of Science in communication disorders program to gain valuable clinical experience as they help serve these clients with speech-language services. 

“We support many local organizations focused on health and well-being, and helping the ASU Speech and Hearing Clinic expand the positive effect they are having in the community to even more people in need just makes sense,” said Zachary Ivanhoe, president of the Valley Toyota Dealers Association.

Being able to offer the clinic’s high-quality speech therapy to more Arizonans who could not otherwise afford it is an important contribution to community health, said Deborah Helitzer, dean of ASU’s College of Health Solutions.

“Our speech and hearing clinic has a long and successful track record of providing excellent care to individuals of all ages," she said. "The Valley Toyota Dealers have made it possible for us to expand our reach and help more Arizonans get the health services they deserve to lead better, more productive lives.”

Since its founding in 1989, the Valley Toyota Dealers Association, which represents all 10 Toyota dealers in the Metro Phoenix area, has given to many local organizations who in turn help thousands of Arizonans each year. At the ASU Speech and Hearing Clinic, the lives of patients from infants through senior adults are improved through professional audiology and speech pathology services as well as through the clinic’s training programs and research in speech and hearing science, enabling the College of Health Solutions to impact the health of thousands more.

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