By Dorota Simpson
“Best gift ever” – was the name of my son Lukas’ video that I entered for the “Why Life’s Worth Hearing” contest, put on by Cochlear. Thanks to a lot of support and voting from our friends and family, Lukas won the contest and we are on our way to the Cochlear Celebration 2015 in Florida!
Like the other families that entered- we wanted to win of course, but we also wanted to use this opportunity to share Lukas’ journey with those around us and help spread awareness about hearing loss, Cochlear Implants, and the impact they have had on Lukas’ and our lives.
Lukas was born with a progressive hearing loss and wore hearing aids up until the age of three when we were faced with a life changing decision regarding Cochlear Implants. Just after he turned three his hearing became severe-profound and he became a candidate for bilateral Cochlear Implants. On October 15th, 2012, Lukas underwent a four-hour surgery at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto and received bilateral Cochlear Implants followed by extensive speech therapy to learn how to process the new sounds generated from what I call his “magic ears”.
Lukas was fortunate in receiving treatment and support from many great organizations: the Cochlear Implant team at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, VOICE for Hearing Impaired Children, Ontario’s Infant Hearing Program, and CHEO Hospital in Ottawa where he first received hearing aids.
The “Why Life’s Worth Hearing” video contest, gave us the opportunity to finally share his story and how he is now able to hear and speak, which is something I didn’t think would be possible once his natural hearing was essentially gone. Thanks to modern technology and amazing doctors and therapists this gift is available to so many people around the world.
I used the contest to help spread awareness, and tried to educate not only my close friends and family members but also others who didn’t know the technology existed. My Facebook posts included information on the latest Aqua+ accessory, Bluetooth capability, Auditory Verbal Speech Therapy, the history and the future of Cochlear.
During my two week “Campaign Lukas” I was able to reconnect with so many people from the past that I haven’t spoken to in many years. Here is a great Facebook comment I received during the campaign:
This has now become part of my daily routine, drink coffee, read news and vote for Lukas!
I also received support from a Canadian fashion designer Stacey Bafi-Yeboa owner of KANIA (www.kania.ca). She loved Lukas’ story and KANIA is now supporting VOICE for Hearing Impaired Children as one of their charities for this year. This type of support and awareness for kids with hearing impairments has been fantastic and will go well beyond the contest itself.
There was also one mom in particular who I connected with who is just about to start her Cochlear Implant journey with her own son and hopes that he will be able to receive all the benefits that this technology can bring. So I am truly grateful that this contest gave me the opportunity to reach out to others and support them as they begin their journey.
I am looking forward to attending the Celebration with my family to learn more about the technology and to make new connections with the Cochlear Community. Thank you Cochlear Americas for giving my son Lukas Simpson the “BEST GIFT EVER” the gift of HEARING!