“It’s comforting to know that if we ever need Children’s Hospital, the door is always open.”

A mother’s voice is meant to be the very first sound a baby hears. But for little Ireland Gault, the world was silent.

Born just over a year ago, Ireland was a perfectly healthy baby. Her parents, Will and Courtney, had no family history of hearing problems.

Soon after Ireland was born, they began to realize something was wrong.

Test followed test. Finally, an audiologist told them that Ireland had severe hearing loss.

Their little girl could barely hear a thing. That magical moment of hearing her mother’s voice just never came.

As you can imagine, receiving the news that your child has profound hearing loss can be very hard to handle. Parents can’t stop thinking about the things their children will miss out on – and worrying about how many hurdles they will face.

But something wonderful is happening right here at Children’s Hospital. Back in 2007, generous donors like you helped pilot an infant hearing screening program, which helps our medical team discover any possible challenges as early as possible.

The first few years of a baby’s life are so important – and sound is a huge part in their development. Every day counts when a baby cannot hear.

Generous donor support of our hospital has helped our doctors give the gift of hearing to 215 children since the hearing program began. But now they need new equipment to keep on going. 

Doctors fitted surgical hearing devices (called cochlear implants) in each of Ireland’s ears. She became the youngest child ever to receive them in Manitoba. Ireland then heard the sound of her parents’ voices for the very first time. Ireland did what most babies do. She cried. And so did everyone else. “These are tears of joy,” said Ireland’s mom.

Ireland’s audiologist pointed out that, until the infant hearing program, children wouldn’t have the opportunity for cochlear implants until two years old. But because Ireland has had them so early, she has every chance of catching up with other kids her age by kindergarten.

This day would never have come for Ireland and her parents if it weren’t for people like you.

“Cochlear implants” don’t sound very poetic, do they? But I think they are tiny miracles. Consider the sounds you love the best in all the world…

Music. Singing. Laughter. The ocean as you fall asleep. Birdsong in the morning.

“I love you.”

This is what our special donors have brought into Ireland’s life. She and her family will never forget that tremendous gift.

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