Christmas is a time for celebration,sharing with family and friends and blessing!
How can we give the gift of giving to others?
There are many ways that we can help others in need this festive season.
Find out how you can make a difference this season and touch the lives of others.
If you know of any organisations or groups or causes in your community that needs assistance of any kind or you would like to be featured please contact me.
I would love to do a follow up series of how many lives we have changed!
Today we are featuring Lauren’s cause.
Lauren was born on 26 July 1993 and two weeks later was diagnosed as being profoundly deaf (as a result of congenital rubella). She was fitted with hearing aids when she was three weeks old and immediately enrolled at the Hearing Impaired School at Tygerberg. I had to give up my secretarial position to take her there daily, so that they could teach us how to communicate with a deaf baby.
At the age of 3, we were told that we had to make a choice – sign language or a cochlear implant. Reason being, that she was not benefiting at all with her hearing aids. The thought of our daughter having to go through life without sound was devastating – to think that she would never hear the sounds of animals and nature that we love so much, gave us no option other than to go the cochlear implant route. It was the best decision ever.
We immediately started fundraising and within 8 weeks we had enough money (R100,000) to go ahead with the implant and to also help another little girl who was awaiting her implant.
Lauren had to be taught, not only how to hear but also how to listen and speak. Travelling in the car in the traffic everyday to Tygerberg from Lakeside, gave us plenty of time to introduce Lauren to new sounds and to get her started with her speech and communication skills. It was when she was 4, that she started to say a few words clearly. Her brother, Mark, was born shortly before she was implanted; so Mark… and Lauren’s ears are the same age….I am saying this, because, unlike other deaf babies that don’t babble, Lauren was learning to listen, at the same time that Mark was babbling and learning to talk.She would copy and imitate everything he said. This, I think, played a huge roll in the good speech that Lauren has today….the same as the “learning to crawl before you walk” scenario. Besides the immense help, patience and dedication from her teachers, we did our absolute best in exposing Lauren to every sound possibly available……..it was a long road at the time, and I personally never thought that Lauren would hear herself saying Thank You to everyone who had contributed to our fundraising, which she has done after overcoming her shyness as she entered high school.
After attending a Hearing Impaired school in Observatory, and also then needing to cope with glasses because of bad eyesight, she went to the Hearing Impaired school in Hout Bay and matriculated with a Bachelors pass (we went that route, ie Hearing Impaired schools, because of the small classes….Lauren never had more than 7 learners in her class at a time).
Lauren then went on to pass her driver’s test (first attempt too!), and while doing voluntary work at TEARS in Kommetjie, she did a Veterinary Assistant Correspondence course for which she received a Diploma. Her love of animals then drove her to do a Dog Grooming Course in Fish Hoek and there too, she received her Certificate. Lauren, now 22, has a problem hearing well over the telephone, so it is difficult for her to make a career in a veterinary environment, although on a Sunday, she helps out at the Steenberg Vet cleaning the cages and helping the Doc when required. For the rest of the week, she is employed at Eugene’s Parlour in Marina Da Gama and loves every minute of her grooming work.
Unfortunately 2 years ago, she was also diagnosed as diabetic – Type 1, so 4 times a day, she has to cope with insulin injections.
So Lauren, who started off as a very shy little girl, had so many obstacles put in her way, has grown into a confident and positive young lady with an immense love for animals – she is a very kind and caring person and everything she does, she does well and with great enthusiasm. Because of her busy work schedule and also the problems of hearing in noisy environments, she does not socialise much, but when she does, and comes with us to listen to her dad, who is a musician, she loves meeting new people.
The new speech processor :
We are hoping that this will improve her hearing in noisy environments and over the phone as well. Always so sad, as a parent, to see how much they miss out on and also a lot of people don’t like to repeat things if she has not heard them properly so she loses out on a lot of conversation.
How you can assist:
Lauren’s cause is organising a fundraising evening at the Two and Sixpence Tavern on 31 December. They have a lot of prizes to give away and will also be auctioning a couple of really nice items/hotel stays.
You can purchase raffle tickets at R20 from the Two and Sixpence Tavern in Simons Town or bless this cause with a donation.
ACCOUNT NAME: LAUREN DU PREEZ COCHLEAR FUND
BRANCH: TOKAI BLUE ROUTE MALL
BRANCH CODE: 104309 (the universal branch code can be used for anyone having a problem with the local branch code – 198765)
ACC NO. 2008560635 (Savings Account)
SWIFT CODE: NEDSZAJJ
(IBAN CODE (if needed by some countries): ZA20NEDSZAJJ1043092008560635
EMAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s help Lauren receive the gift of hearing this festive season!
You can find out more on the Facebook page here.