Mum gives back to those changing daughter’s life
AGAINST a blue sky spotted with clouds, dozens of people donned bright shirts on the Yeppoon foreshore with a loud message — hearing impairments in children are more common than you think.
As part of the annual fundraiser for hearing support service Hear and Say, Loud Shirt Day encourages people to dress in bright colours to support deaf and hard of hearing children.
Lammermoor mum Kirsty Pendlington was the woman behind the Saturday event she organised in honour her daughter Alexis.
Kirsty organised children’s activites and food vendors for the event, which attracted about 100 people and even a brightly dressed dog.
“Awareness is so important,” Kirsty said.
Alexis was classified as deaf in her newborn scans and by the time she was nine weeks old she had hearing aids.
The diagnosis changed Kirsty’s life and enhanced her knowledge as she became an almost expert on a topic she previously knew almost nothing about.
“People don’t release how common it is,” she said.
“It’s the most common disability in new borns, which I had no idea it was.”
Alexis received bilateral cochlear implants at 11 months and has been working with Hear and Say since to live a Auditory-Verbal life enabling her to listen and talk to others.
When Alexis first got her implants, Kirsty had to fly with her to Brisbane every week for check-ups, slowly they started going once a fortnight and now they go every six months.
All services and transport are provided by Hear and Say.
The organisation helps Kirsty work with a therapist and audiologist to monitor Alexis’ progression — she also completes learning sessions with experts via Skype.
The services Hear and Say provide cost $10,000 per year, per child, to ensure they learn to listen and speak just like any other kid their age.
While the Yeppoon event fell short of winning the title of Queensland’s Loudest Town, which is awarded to the community who raises the most money, Kirsty was ready for next year.
“We plan to do it again,” she said.
She raised about $2,200 for Hear and Say, which will go towards helping children with hearing impairments.