Riley Buckholz was six years old when he was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2014. His family was devastated and overwhelmed. Riley spent the next 18 months in and out of the hospital. Care and arrangements for his siblings, transportation, medical decisions, and mounting expenses and medical bills were emotionally and physically stressful. Even worse was watching their child in pain while their ability to comfort and communicate with him became increasingly difficult due to the hearing damage caused by the treatment. They could not afford the only thing that would help- hearing aids.
The Fisher Foundation arranged a special surprise the day he got his hearing aids. Batman, Riley’s favorite hero, was there to greet him and give him special Batman presents.
Riley’s mom, Adena, said it was the happiest day they had since the diagnosis. When Riley grinned and said, “I can hear you now mommy. Say ‘I love you’ again,” she cried with joy. So did everyone in the room.
Brannon Moran was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2014, at age 8. He had to undergo emergency brain surgery, a month of radiation, and six months of chemotherapy. These procedures saved his life, but the chemotherapy left him with a new obstacle: hearing loss.
In order to return to school, Brannon needed hearing aids. The Moran family’s insurance would not cover hearing aids, and their finances were depleted due to enormous medical bills. When Kristin Moran, Brannon’s mom, reached out to the Fisher Foundation, we knew we had to help. The Fisher Foundation provided Brannon with a pair of state-of-the-art hearing aids.
Batman returned to the Hearing Health Center to deliver another special pair of hearing aids to another special boy! Brannon is thriving in school, and even joined us at our 2016 Hike 4 Better Hearing! Way to go, “SuperBran!”
At 17, Zion was a budding high school basketball star when he suffered a sprained ankle that wouldn’t get better month after month. After 9 months of tests and biopsies, his family got the news they dreaded: Zion had bone cancer and would have to lose his lower leg.
Following the surgery, Zion suffered through massive doses of radiation and chemotherapy that permanently destroyed his hearing as well. He went home from Rush Hospital in a wheelchair, depressed, debilitated with pain, and unable to communicate with his friends and family.
Hearing aids, the only option for Zion’s hearing, were out of the question. The Spencers were wiped out financially. Mounting medical bills and the crushing cost of treatment rendered them monetarily devastated. This is when a social worker at Rush Hospital told Lovetta, Zion’s mom, about the hospital’s recent partnership with the Fisher Foundation for Hearing Health Care, and how we help children who lose their hearing from cancer treatment. We could help Zion and he would come under the compassionate, expert care of Dr. Riel at Hearing Health Center.
Zion was worried about getting hearing aids. He was a senior in high school with a missing leg and did not want anything else to make him stand out.
Dr. Gail Elden, a psychologist, Hearing Health Center patient, and supporter of the Fisher Foundation, donated two brand new custom-designed hearing aids to the Foundation. They are powerful, fit perfectly, and best of all, according to Zion, they are invisible.
Just after Thanksgiving, we informed Dr. Elden about Zion, the recipient of her hearing aids. She was so choked up she could barely speak. Finally, she said, “Now that, is really something to be thankful for.”
Mohammed came to the Fisher Foundation through the Hearing Health Center, where Dr. Jaclyn Riel treated him. He was first diagnosed with hearing loss as a baby and received his first pair of hearing aids when he was only one year old. Due to financial hardship, Mohammed was recently unable to obtain new hearing devices. He shared that he had become withdrawn due to his hearing loss. He couldn’t communicate well, he stopped engaging in social situations, and lost many relationships. It was so difficult for Mohammed to find employment, he stopped looking for a job all together. The Fisher Foundation was eager to step in and provide help to Mohammed.
After receiving hearing aids from the Fisher Foundation, Mohammed was able to really be an active participant in his social surroundings. He heard his nephew’s voice for the first time, the sound of his girlfriend’s laugh, and his dog barking. All the things that the hearing community take for granted are absolute treasures to him!