April 2018 News & Star
The Murray family, Alan, Nicki, Elliot, Lily and Fearne along with other friends and relatives raised more than £2,000 for the National Deaf Children's Society last month
The family of two deaf girls wants to raise awareness of life with hearing loss and make thousands for charity. Lily Murray, 10, and her sister Fearne, one, of Derwent Road, Workington, both suffer from hearing loss. They have had hearing aids, learned sign language and last month Fearne had a cochlear implant turned on which should enable her to learn to speak.
The girls' parents, Alan and Nicki, and brother Elliot want to get the message out that the pair are normal girls to improve understanding and help other people affected by hearing loss to find support if they need it. The family has been using the motto #Deafkidsrock to celebrate their children and hopes more people will join them in lauding the things that make them different.
Alan said: "Our little girls are no different to anybody else, we make the best of it and get on with it. There are people around if you want to talk to them and they can put you on the right avenues.
I'd like to show other people living with hearing loss that you're not alone."
Alan said people will often stare and whisper rather than ask questions about hearing loss and the family is keen to change that. Lily has worn hearing aids in both ears since she was four and has faced bullying as a result but she doesn't hide her disability, opting for bright pink models covered in glitter. Alan said: "She's faced the bullying that comes along with having a disability. It's been tough sometimes but she doesn't let things stand in her way. She is bright, incredibly funny and loves to sing. She also likes to show people that it's okay to be different. She rocks those hearing aids and why not? Why fit in when you can stand out?"
Fearne was born prematurely with her fighting gloves on, weighing just two pounds and 14 ounces.
She was a few weeks old when the family learned that she had a profound hearing loss but they were determined that, just like her older sister, this was not going to hold her back. Hearing aids proved ineffective but the family was eventually told she qualified for a cochlear implant, which she had fitted in February at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough. The device was switched on on March 16 and since then Alan believes a world of opportunities has opened up for his daughter. She has been learning from Catherine Brown, a teacher of the deaf, and the three children have all picked up signs from their parents.
Alan added: "We are really grateful for what they can do now, it really is marvellous. Fearne has a long way to go learning to hear and speak and we've had our fair share of hospital visits but it has all been worth it. We have a good team to help."
At Christmas, the family decided to raise money for the National Deaf Children's Society and recruited relatives and friends to tackle the Great North Run in September. Alan completed the Blackpool marathon on Sunday and a charity night last month raised more than £2,000, with the entertainment and decorations for the night offered for free to help bring in funds. Alan added: "We were blown away by how much support we got from local business and football teams."