by EVAN MATTHEWS
Small communities are known for lending a helping hand, but over the weekend Valemount rallied together to provide a child with the gift of hearing.
Angalie Pardo, 10, is Duska Olson’s daughter. She was born deaf, and in November 2008 she was diagnosed with profound sensorineural hearing loss in her right ear, and moderately severe sensorineural hearing loss in her right.
She currently has a cochlear implant in her right ear, while using a hearing aid in the left. Pardo needs a cochlear implant replacement this summer, according to Olson.
“The technology is way more up to date,” says Olson.
“Having the newest technology will improve her speech and ability to function better in class, and around family and friends.
“She will grow and achieve her goals,” she says.
The cost for the new implant is $6,300, majority of which is covered by British Columbia’s Medical Services Plan. Olson says the family needed to raise $700.
But thanks to the community’s generosity, at the very least, cost will not be a concern.
“Having the newest technology will improve her speech and ability to function better in class, and around family and friends. She will grow and achieve her goals,” — Duska Olson about her daughter, Angalie.
On Saturday, Jun. 17, Sherry Tinsley-Bobke and Anita Demarni Broersma organized a cookout fundraiser at the Valemount Firehall raising $2,016, far exceeding Olson’s original goal.
“We’ve covered all her expenses of travelling to the hospital, a room, fuel, etc.,” says Tinsley, adding the response was absolutely overwhelming, and they had to re-stock on food a number of times.
“We were stunned by the amount raised,” she says, adding thanks to Jeanne Dennis for cooking, Mike at IGA for donating food.
The family also managed to reach a fundraising goal of $1,000 via a GoFundMe account online.
“It’s been amazing… I didn’t expect such an outcome,” she says, emphasizing thanks to the cookout organizers.
However, just because the fundraisers have exceeded the minimum goal doesn’t mean the extra funds aren’t needed.
“Things like hearing aid batteries and supplies… It gets very costly,” says Olson.
“It’s going to be amazing for things like that,” she says.
A cochlear implant is an electronic medical device replacing the function of a damaged inner ear. Hearing aids make sounds louder, whereas cochlear implants emulate the work of damaged parts of the inner ear to provide signals to the brain, according to the American Cochlear Implant Alliance.
Unlike other medical interventions, a cochlear implant is a life long process requiring consistent care over the duration of a person’s life.
The ideal outcomes are dependent on more than just the initial surgery, as mapping or programming of the external sound processor by an audiologist is required every three to six months during the first year, according to many medical institutions.
Typically after the first few years, visits to audiologists become annual.
“She’s already had the (initial) brain surgery already,” says Olson.
“She’s been through lots of appointments and surgeries… It’s been traumatizing for her… She’s been quite nervous, but she’s doing great and she’s so thankful and excited.”
Olson believes this implant will be the solution to last her daughter for the rest of her life.