This past holiday season, children filled out their Christmas lists to send to Santa. Hoverboards and video games topped the lists of many. However, for one special 7-year old in Deerfield Beach, Florida, all she wanted was the gift of better hearing.
Every year, the Starkey HearCare network of hearing care providers holds a special holiday contest. We give the gift of hearing to someone in need of hearing help. We ask that the loved ones, friends and family members of the person who is in need, to write Santa a letter and explain why the gift of hearing should be given to the person in need. Each year we receive submissions from across the United States. This year we received hundreds of requests from the loved ones of those in need.
As you can probably imagine, it is not easy narrowing down hundreds of submissions to just one. In an effort to help all with their hearing loss, we offer a buy one get one free deal to everyone who had a submission. This is a savings of over $2,000!
Each submission is read by a panel at Starkey HearCare. We read every single letter that comes into our mailbox. These letters are touching and moving. This year, one submission stood out.
Kaitlyn Newland was born with a hearing loss. She has needed hearing aids since birth to hear and speak. Her hearing loss has affected her everyday life. According to a submission from her school, Trinity Christian School, “Kaitlyn is struggling in class and at home with ordinary tasks, and would greatly benefit from positive interactions and experiences in her young life.” Several other letters indicated that Kaitlyn’s hearing loss has effected her learning that she has fell so far behind in school that she faced the possibility of being held back.
Kaitlyn has a twin sister. We know how close twins are in life. Kaitlyn had been separated from certain parts of her life due to her hearing loss, we did not want her to be separated from her twin sister in school as well.
We received four submissions from her school, aunt, grandmother and family friend urging us to choose Kaitlyn for the gift of better hearing. With her whole life ahead of her and the opportunity to live it to it’s fullest present, we choose Kaitlyn Newland as the recipient of a brand new pair of Audibel A4 hearing aids.
This is the part of the story where one would think everything was going according to plan. We have a 7-year old little girl who struggles with hearing loss that lives just minutes away from our office in Deerfield Beach, FL. Shortly after contacting her family and letting them know the good news, we were informed that Kaitlyn and her family were moving north to Greenville, SC. What was once a 10 minute drive to our office now turned into a three hour trip and over 200 miles to our closest office in Rome, GA.
Not to be deterred, we worked with Kaitlyn’s mother, Christina, and the local office in Rome, GA (Audibel) to work with their schedule to get Kaitlyn the help she so desperately needed. Finally, after weeks of conversation and planning, we were able to visit with Kaitlyn in our Rome, GA office in March of 2017, three months after it was announced she was the winner. In an email from Katilyn’s mom Christina, she wrote “When we went to the hearing center in Rome, GA she was having a pretty bad day since we had to drive at 4:30 am to make the appointment but please know that she is over the moon about getting a new set of hearing aids.”
Christina, Katilyn’s mother, drove Kaitlyn the 200+ miles trip to Rome, GA for appointment number one. With both parties determined to find a solution that would greatly benefit Kaitlyn, a set of brand new Audibel A4 hearing aids were selected by the hearing care provider Charles Scoggins. Charles even customized the hearing aids for Kaitlyn to fit her exact ear canal.
Kaitlyn would have to make the 200 mile trip one more time to get her brand new custom hearing aids. Finally, in early April, Kaitlyn returned to our Rome, GA office to receive her hearing aids. The impact the hearing aids had on Kaitlyn’s life was instant. While she had hearing aids in the past, they were not as technologically advanced as the set she received from Starkey HearCare.
Christina wrote to us in an email after they received the hearing aids:
“The hearing aids have been such a blessing for Kaitlyn. She loves the hearing aids and loves he fact that she can turn them up or down whenever she needs it. They are amazing, the technology is unbelievable and it has completely changed her mood. She is so much more controlled, calm and social. She is not embarrassed to tell people she wears hearing aids anymore. I am overwhelmed with joy, and it brings tears to my eyes to see how different she is now and how this has impacted our lives. I can’t thank you enough for choosing her. Thanks again for caring and for helping Kaitlyn be a normal little girl. We will be forever grateful.”
It’s stories like Kaitlyn’s that drives our hearing care providers across the nation to help more people hear better. The impact that proper hearing can have on someone’s life is priceless. Kaitlyn will now be able to learn at the level she is capable of in her classes. She can experience life in a way she had not had before. She can converse with her twin sister about all things sisters love to talk about. Her mother, Christina, can smile knowing that Kaitlyn is no loner embarrassed about her hearing loss.
We want to extend a special thank you to Kaitlyn, her mother Christina, those who submitted submission’s on Kaitlyn’s behalf, her entire family who accompanied Kaitlyn to the appointment and our local staff in Rome, GA, Charles and Sharon Scoggins. Together, we all made an impact and a different in one little girls life.