ARA FIRE SUPPORTS HEAR AND SAY
Liz and Brian Davies of ARA Fire were first introduced to Hear and Say when they were invited by Allan Graham, CEO of Suncorp Stadium, to attend Hear and Say’s Annual Fundraising Ball in August last year. Based in Queensland, Hear and Say is a not-for-profit organisation that specialises in implantable technologies and auditory-verbal programs to teach deaf children to hear, listen, speak, and read. Inspired and deeply moved by the work that Hear and Say do to support hearing-impaired children and their families, ARA Fire team in Queensland nominated Hear and Say to be one of the charities that the ARA Group support through the ARA Endowment Fund. The Endowment Fund was set up in 2009 and donates over $20,000 each year to various charities as nominated by ARA employees.
In addition, through Hear and Say’s Gold Wings Child Sponsorship Program, Liz, Brian and the Asset Fire team were able to sponsor 10-month-old Annabelle and her parents, Mark and Devy. Shortly after she was born, Annabelle was diagnosed with being profoundly deaf in both ears. This was caused by the Cytomegalovirus (CMV) which her mother contracted during her pregnancy. Normal hearing aids would not provide sufficient amplification for Annabelle, and so cochlear implants were required for her to hear speech sounds and give her the best chance of learning to speak. Eager to provide both financial support and to build a personal rapport with Annabelle and her family, Asset Fire’s sponsorship allowed Annabelle to receive cochlear implants in both her ears.
In early October last year, Liz, Dave Crosby and Pauline Martin from Asset Fire were invited to attend the ‘switch on’ of Annabelle’s cochlear implants. Annabelle’s mother recalls the life-changing experience in which Annabelle was able to hear sounds for the first time:
“We will never forget the moment Annabelle first heard us. To my voice, she responded with a startled jump. “What-was-that?” you could almost hear her saying. Then her other ear was ‘switched on’. Her dad still gets teary remembering that unforgettable moment she turned around to his voice for the first time, let out a big smile and an ‘Ahhhhhh’.”
Brian and Liz were delighted to welcome Annabelle and her family to their home on Boxing Day last year. Annabelle, now one-year old, visits Hear and Say twice a week for therapy and audiology. She is one of the over 600 children across Queensland who benefit from Hear and Say’s Auditory-Verbal therapy programs. The ARA Fire team in Queensland would like to thank Hear and Say for this enriching and rewarding opportunity, and we look forward to continuing to support Annabelle as we watch her grow, learn and blossom.
Click here to read Annabelle’s story, including an interview with Annabelle’s mum Dev, on the Hear and Say website.