Nothing sweeter than gift of sound

PRECIOUS MOMENT: Grandmother Jody Malam with granddaughter Keshia Uele, 7, who was born profoundly deaf. Keshia received ...
Sarah Roberts

PRECIOUS MOMENT: Grandmother Jody Malam with granddaughter Keshia Uele, 7, who was born profoundly deaf. Keshia received support from The Hearing House after getting a cochlear implant.

Keshia Uele may be a little chatterbox now - but a short time ago she could not string a sentence together.

The seven-year-old was born profoundly deaf.

Now she is giving back to those who helped her with two cochlear hearing implants by giving up sugar for the month of February.

Grandmother Jody Malam first realised something was seriously wrong when a smoke alarm went off and Keshia continued colouring at the table unaware.

The Henderson resident turned to The Hearing House for help.

The charitable trust, which specialises in teaching deaf children with hearing implants how to talk and listen, has provided Keshia and her family with on-going support.

The implants work by transferring electrical currents in the eardrum into sound, like an artificial ear.

Now Keshia and her grandmother are taking part in FabFeb, which asks people to raise money by giving up sugar for a month.

They have also rid their pantry of anything with artificial sugar and have gone the extra mile and vowed not to buy takeaways.

Malam has cut out alcohol too.

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Participants raise money for charities that help children living with disabilities, including The Hearing House.

Malam said that if they can help just one child have the same opportunities Keshia has now it will be worth the effort.

"Those cochlear implants have changed Keshia's world. It still makes me teary-eyed thinking about it," Malam said.

"She went from a shy, awkward and frustrated child to a girl who loves living life, wanting to get involved and wanting friends."

The FabFeb supporters are just at the beginning of their four-week journey, but so far they're enjoying it.

As well as adopting healthy eating habits Malam and Keshia are adding a half-hour walk into their daily routine.

Malam has lost two kilograms after being on the health kick for one week.

"At the moment we are still in the honeymoon phase and we are enjoying trying different foods. It's going to be a hard slog, but if we can make a difference to another child's life it will be worth it," she said.

They hope to raise $500 for The Hearing House. FabFeb supporters can either go sugar free or fast carb free.

Go to fabfeb.org with reference Jody to make a donation to the pair.

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 - Western Leader

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