Cape Town - A Retreat toddler’s hopes for better hearing were realised after she had a successful operation which was made possible through fund-raising efforts.
Featured in the Cape Argus last month, parents Abigail and Ryan Arendse appealed to the public to assist with funding for cochlear implants for their 3-year-old daughter, Elle.
One device had already been covered by the family’s medical aid, but they needed another R300 000 for the other device and associated costs.
The operation, lasting a little over three hours, took place at Mediclinic Cape Gate, on Monday.
At just five months old, Elle was fitted with hearing aids after tests showed she had bilateral “moderate to severe” hearing loss. As she grew, her hearing deteriorated and cochlear implants were needed, according to specialists.
Over the weekend, family, friends and colleagues shaved their heads in support of Elle’s big transition.
“The support has been amazing since the article was published. We have received support from lots of strangers, from people in different parts of the world, from companies and charitable organisations.
“To know that so many people were supporting us really warmed our hearts. It shows us that there are good people in this world. Some that will go out of their way for you and support you with their last,” said Abigail Arendse.
The internal devices were implanted, and once healed, the implants will be activated. Until then, Elle remains without hearing.
Abigail said: “She was happy and excited and I think preparation from her teacher at the Carel Du Toit centre was just amazing and also the preparation at home and the resources we had to just prepare her for the day, but she was excited.”
Before the surgery, Elle said goodbye to her hearing aids, which had served her well.
“We are really grateful to God for everything he has done for us. Thank you to one and all for all the contributions no matter how big or small. Now we start a new journey, please keep our little angel and family in your prayers,” dad Ryan Arendse said.