A GIANT conga along the coast proved a winner in the battle to change the life of a toddler.
Chloe Lucas, two, who was born deaf, has been fitted with cochlear implants, also known as bionic ears, which help her to hear.
But the Seaham tot, who lives with mum Ann, still faces a daily battle to communicate properly.
Inspired by the youngster, her cousin, Chantelle McKeller, 17, organised a Conga for Chloe in which fund-raisers made their way from the Queen Vic pub in Roker, Sunderland, to South Shields.
Money is still being collected for the event, but it’s hoped it will raise £200 for the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS).
Chantelle, a beauty therapist, said: “Chloe can say a few words and is developing all the time, but it’s still hard.
“The event went really well. There was a really positive atmosphere when everyone was together and I really appreciate the effort people went to.
“Chloe was dead excited, especially when we had our photo taken.”
Having cochlear implants has helped improve Chloe’s chances of being able to hear. Often called a bionic ear, cochlear implants work differently to hearing aids in that, rather than amplifying sounds, the implant bypasses damaged portions of the ear to directly stimulate the auditory nerve.
The implant, which holds a microphone, speech processor and a transmitter, consists of an external portion that sits behind the ear and a second portion that is surgically placed under the skin.
Niki Michael, NDCS Head of corporate, community and events, said: “Every day in the UK four babies are born deaf, and almost all are born to parents with little experience of deafness.
“NDCS is the leading charity dedicated to creating a world without barriers for deaf children and young people. Since NDCS is funded almost entirely through public donations, it is the commitment of people like Chantelle that makes our work possible.”
* Anyone who wishes to donate to Chantelle’s fund-raising can do so on www.justgiving.com/Chantelle-Mckellar