Randy and I will be married 18 years in September and we have three amazing children Heather (15), Charles-John "CJ" (13) and Nolan (11) as well as a 4-year-old Border Collie named Lulu.
I will be running the 2018 Boston Marathon on April 16, 2018 as part of Team Eye and Ear. Personally, I’m running Boston to support Massachusetts Eye and Ear as well as our 11-year-old son Nolan who is hearing-impaired.
Further, my commitment of $12,000 to MEEI's research for children, like Nolan with specific hearing impairments and how these impairments affect a child's ability to communicate and learn effectively. Additionally, once a child is over the age of nine-years-old (9) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts they’re no longer considered developmental delayed; therefore children are expected to make the leap from learning to read to reading to learn.
Hearing impaired children like Nolan have difficulty understanding the relationship between letters (grapheme) and sounds (phoneme) because in the English language some letters represent more than one sound, different letters can represent the same sound, and sounds can be represented by a single letter or a combinations of letters. Therefore, it is vital that hearing impaired children have information presented to them in a manner that allows them to decipher and understand spoken, visual and written information appropriately. Additionally, the longer a hearing impairment goes undiagnosed and untreated by professionals, a child can be left to struggling medically, academically, and socially as well.
As you all know, Nolan is a sweet, gentle, bright and capable 5th grader at Rising Tide Charter School in Plymouth, MA. Nolan LOVES going to school and enjoys all of his subjects and adores his teachers. Nolan enjoys playing on his Recreational Basketball Team that his dad helps coach, hanging with his friends, and building epic Lego sets.
Nolan is a typical 11 year old. . .whom has a bilateral conductive hearing loss that has fluctuated significantly since infancy. This type of hearing loss has made communicating effectively and learning challenging and often times difficult and frustrating for Nolan to simply understand. Nonetheless, Nolan's Collaborative Team of professionals, educators, and medical doctors at MEEI and throughout the community have helped Nolan communicate and process more efficiently and effectively over the past two years.
Currently, Nolan is reading and comprehending at a 6th grade level at Rising Tide Charter Public School and is viewed by his teachers as a leader among his classmates and peers. But, a recent medical follow-up to his tympanoplasty (a grafting done in March, 2017) to mend the perforation in the middle ear) revealed CT scan findings of a cholesteatoma (cyst/mass) in his left ear. So, in order for Nolan’s Head and Neck Surgeon to better understand the cholesteatoma, Nolan is having a MRI with contrast done on April 17, during Marathon Week, which is also his April vacation. As of now, Nolan’s team agrees that initial surgery to remove the cholesteatoma will not take place until early June in order to alleviate missing school because Nolan is in such a wonderful place educational and emotionally at Rising Tide and with MEEI. But, Nolan's surgeon will know more after the findings from the MRI and depending on the size of the cholesteatoma will decide on surgery dates pending reconstruction surgery.
In summary, Nolan is loved and supported by his family and friends and we’re so proud of how far Nolan has come in such a short time; therefore, Randy and I feel finding a more permanent solution to Nolan's bilateral conductive hearing loss is imperative. Thus, when Nolan’s audiologist suggested we speak to his Head and Neck Surgeon about going from behind the ear hearing aids to a bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA) implant by Cochlear, we were very receptive and eager. Now, for that reason, we’re very motivated to have Nolan’s cholesteatoma remedied and start Nolan on a more permanent path to living with his hearing loss and functioning as independently as possible as he enters his teenage years and begins his journey to independent living as an adult.
We hope you can join me and my family in helping Nolan and other children with hearing impairments and how it affects communication, literacy and overall learning.
Please support my marathon run, Nolan’s Journey and our commitment to Team Eye and Ear with a kind donation.
2018 Team Eye and Ear
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