Oct 2019 St George and Sutherland Shire Leader

Pattern clashing, fluorescent colours and Hawaiian shirts will be in vogue and the Taylor family of Kirrawee is helping to lead the charge. They are supporting Loud Shirt Day, an annual event where Australians rock their brightest clothing to raise funds for kids with hearing loss and The Shepherd Centre - a leading children's charity giving these Aussie kids the gift of speech and sound. It costs about $16,000 per year per child to provide these services and 30 per cent of this is government funded. Events like Loud Shirt Day help the more than 500 families who turn to The Shepherd Centre each year and close the gap in access to these critical services.

Hearing loss is the most common disability among children.  The Taylors experienced the support offered by The Shepherd Centre firsthand. When Flynn was born he was diagnosed with profound hearing loss in his right ear and mild-moderate loss in his left ear at five weeks of age. When the family first met with The Shepherd Centre, mum Melissa said that everything fell into place and it was clear it was the right fit. At seven months, Flynn received his first cochlear implant in his right ear through the organisations First Sounds program. Since Flynn has been fitted with another cochlear implant in his left ear, Mrs Taylor says she has been progressing in leaps and bounds. 

Now a bright and bubbly four-year-old, Flynn is set to start school with his speech and language at the same level as his hearing friends.

melissa taylor

Loud and proud: Kirrawee's Melissa Taylor with daughter, and son Flynn, who has received support for hearing loss since he was born.

Chief executive of The Shepherd Centre, JimHungerford, says the campaign is an opportunity to have some fun and bring out your silly side in support of a good cause. "Loud Shirt Day is an easy way to raise awareness around paediatric hearing loss in the community," he said. "Hold a BBQ, put on a rainbow-themed morning tea or host a mufti day in your school and let's get loud for children who are deaf or hearing impaired. 'We know that for every child we support there another deaf child in Australia who goes without any specialist services. On that reason alone, I urge everyone to rummage through their wardrobe for their wildest shirt. We rely heavily on the generosity of the community to help raise funds so that we can close the gap and provide these essential services.

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