Running to help kids
McKenzie Joyce-Quinn is exposed to an exciting new world of sound and opportunity as she plays in the garden of her Massey home.
The 5-year-old has progressive hearing loss and received a cochlear implant in her left ear last month.
That means she can now clearly hear sounds most of us take for granted - like cicadas on a summer afternoon.
The new technology will also enable her to go swimming with her buddies at school.
"I love swimming and I'm excited to go with my friends," McKenzie says.
A cochlear implant is an electronic device surgically implanted through the scalp directly behind the ear.
It's inserted into the cochlea, the auditory cavity in the inner ear.
McKenzie has received on-going support from The Hearing House since she was fitted with hearing aids at 10 months old.
The organisation helps children with hearing loss to listen and speak with regular audiology appointments and therapy sessions.
It is among charities benefiting from money raised through the annual Ports of Auckland Round the Bays fun run and walk on Sunday.
It will receive $28,000 for new equipment including a tympanometer and an audiometer - both vital tools in assessing and diagnosing hearing loss.
McKenzie's mother Donna Quinn will run the 8.4km event and says the organisation has been supportive in her daughter's development.
"McKenzie will receive audio therapy classes from The Hearing House at school so she can re-learn new sounds that come with her cochlear implant."
Ms Quinn also has progressive hearing loss, a genetic trait that's affected four generations of women in her family including her own mum Yvonne.
Each woman also has a cochlear implant.
McKenzie still wears a hearing aid in her right ear to balance out sounds and keep her nerves stimulated if she decides to get another implant when she's older.
The Hearing House fundraising manager Mary Jane Boland says early diagnosis is crucial to a child's development and confidence.
"Without the support here, children wouldn't be able to learn vital language and education skills to take them through to mainstream education," she says.
Cochlear implants cost between $45,000 and $55,000 but are government funded for 40 New Zealand residents, 30 children and 16 newborns a year.
Ports of Auckland Round the Bays starts at 9.30am on March 9.
It's a joint collaboration between the Auckland Joggers Club and Fairfax Media, owner the Manukau Courier and its parent company, Suburban Newspapers.
Registration proceeds will help support The Hearing House and other charities including Radio Lollipop, Cystic Fibrosis Auckland branch, Crohn's and Colitis New Zealand, Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust, Kidsline and Fairfax First Books.
Visit roundthebays.co.nz for more information and to register