Kim Rodger: Support our fete, raising money for my daughter’s family to learn BSL, and the NDCS

Posted on August 31, 2015

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I would like to proudly introduce to you the story of my daughter Evie.

Evie is seven years old, and she was born profoundly deaf. At ten days old, Evie was admitted to hospital with meningitis. Evie was an inpatient for three weeks, during which time we nearly lost her.

This led us to believe that her deafness was due to meningitis. However, once Evie started to attend appointments at Addenbrookes Hospital it became clear that Evie has the gene connexin 26 which is passed down by both her father and I. This came as a shock to our family, due to having no prior family members from either side of Evie’s family having any form of deafness.

At 13 months old, Evie was bilaterally implanted with cochlear implants. However, she never took to it. Over the years it has been an uphill struggle, trying to get her to wear her implants.

Both we and the hospital have tried everything you could possibly think of. The hospital made me feel that it was essential for her to wear them in order to live a relatively ‘normal’ life and continued to put pressure on me to pressurise Evie.

Evie took to British Sign Language from the age of one and has excelled ever since. However, I was told to not use BSL as much with her, in order for her to NEED to wear her implants to communicate.

As you can imagine I did not follow this request, as Evie is deaf and she will always be deaf, regardless of equipment and future medical discoveries.

When Evie was at an age where I was able to sit her down and explain to her that without the implants she would not be able to hear or verbally talk the same as other people, but instead she could talk with her hands, and hear with her eyes and she was happy with this.

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Evie told me she ‘liked it quiet’ and ‘she did not want to hear’ and is ‘proud and brave to be deaf’. I took this on board and have fully supported Evie’s decision and ever she has thrived in all aspects of her life.

She is an absolute inspiration to myself, the family and anyone that she comes across. She is a vibrant, outgoing little girl, and she does not let nothing stand in her way.

She is so sensitive to the vibration of sound, she has taught herself to lip read and now relays words verbally that almost sound pitch perfect. She will always make her point understood, even if the person she is communicating with does not understand BSL.

Evie is passionate about sport, especially football. She plays for Felixstowe and Walton, and mixes with hearing children. This is a struggle for Evie at times, however with light persuasion she gets straight back on track.

Evie’s coach is not BSL trained, in fact he knows very little sign language, but he is learning slowly and is prepared to take it further if we can arrange the funding for the course.

Funding has been denied to be able to provide an interpreter or to put him through a course to be able to speak to Evie, in order for her to achieve her best potential.

Eleven members of Evie’s family are starting a BSL course in September, each having to pay £300+ to learn, this includes both Evie’s father and my partner (who Evie lives with).

There is no help available to even fund part of this. Therefore, I have come up with the idea to do a fundraising event.

We decided together to do an event that will help raise money to fund part of the British sign language course for Evie’s family, with the rest of the money raised going to the National Deaf Children’s Society. We also felt that making the event a large one would not only raise a significant amount of funds, but would also raise deaf awareness.

The Funday Fete, Inspired by Evie and sponsored by Goldstar is going to be on Sunday September 13th at 1pm.

The event will take place at the Goldstar ground in Felixstowe of Felixstowe and Walton United football club. We already have lots of ideas, it’s just now putting the ground work in to set things up and get sponsors to get the ball rolling.

We have lots of ideas, such as: bouncy castle, name the teddy, catch the ducks, five aside football tournament, penalty shootouts, face painting, glitter tattoos, food van, hog roast and the clubhouse will be open to serve drinks.

There’ll be a raffle, and Evie has also offered to do a small session on the stage, teaching people a few basic signs- whilst making it fun. And lots of other brilliant ideas still coming in!

To find out about our event, go to the Facebook page, or look it up on Twitter: @deafFundayfete

I hope you take our fundraiser into considerations and I look forward to hearing from you.

Kim Rodger is a 25 year old Social Work undergraduate who lives in Felixstowe with her partner Jamie.  She has 2 daughters – Evie, who is 6 and Lila, who is 1.  Evie has been profoundly deaf since birth and as a result, Kim has become a passionate campaigner for increased awareness of deafness.

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