“Dr. Luxford Saved My Life.”
These were the words Hazel McNutt shared with our development team when she first donated in 2020. Thanks to the caring culture that was established by Dr. Howard House over 75 years ago, connecting with patients of our partner organization House Ear Clinic continues to be an important legacy at the House Institute today.
In 2020, Hazel discovered Dr. William Luxford’s card that she had held on to for almost 40 years, which prompted her to reach out to us. Hazel very openly and emotionally credits Dr. Luxford with saving her life and wants to fund the research, education, and global hearing health efforts Dr. Luxford performs through the foundation. “There is no one in the whole world like him.”
Dreams Come True
Hazel has held onto Dr. Luxford’s card for almost as many years as she has been doing missionary work, work that has taken her to China, Israel, the Philippines, Japan, and many states here in the US. She felt called to do this work as a high school senior, even declaring to her closest friends she was going to be a nurse missionary in China one day, but Hazel never thought this dream would come true.
“We had a poor way of life,” explained Hazel. Her father had left her mother alone to take care of her twin brother, her younger brother, and herself. Then, in a secondhand bookstore, Hazel found a copy of “In God’s Underground” by Richard Wurmbrand. It felt like a sign. Wurmbrand, too, had lived a very difficult life. It wasn’t long before Hazel and Wurmbrand were corresponding, and Wurmbrand was extending an invitation for her to visit Israel with him. This began Hazel’s missionary career.
Hazel has met many captivating people from all over the globe during her time as a missionary. Yet there is one time, and one man, that stands out in her life: Dr. Luxford.
When she met Dr. Luxford for the first time, she was struggling with spells of dizziness that sometimes made it difficult to stand up or walk. “I woke up one morning and couldn’t get off the bed. . . I told my daughter I was so sick I was going to die.”
She was diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease and, at first, she was resigned to the diagnosis and the pills she would have to take to help with her dizziness. However, after another bout of sickness, Hazel went to a clinic where they ran her through tests, did extensive x-rays, and found a tumor. They said she would need surgery and recommended the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles. Hazel had never heard of it. Her husband was worried they would not be able to afford the surgery. “And this is why I will never forget Dr. Luxford,” Hazel explained. “He stepped up to the plate and offered to find a way to help me.”
Hazel remembers vividly the moment she awoke after her surgery. “When I came to, they were pushing me down the hall. I lost my hearing in that ear, but the operation saved my life. It was just that simple. Dr. Luxford, he’s been a jewel.”
At 89, Hazel began reflecting on her life and wanted to give back to the man whose work all those years ago enabled her to make a difference in so many others’ lives. This woman who, as a child, slept with her brothers and sister under a tree and prayed with her mother that one day they would have a roof over their heads has led a rich, and some might even say charmed life. Getting to know Hazel over these past few years, we can certainly say she has certainly charmed ours.
We look forward to meeting you and hearing your story. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org