Sunderland dad inspired to run London Marathon for deaf charity which helped after son’s diagnosis
A Sunderland dad will pound the streets of the capital for the charity which helped his family as they discovered their newborn son was deaf.
Paul Neesham, 43, will embark on the London Marathon in April as he raises cash for the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS).
Only days after Paul’s son Jack was born in 2011, he and wife Ruth, 40, were given the news Jack was profoundly deaf after the newborn screening test proved inconclusive.
The diagnosis plunged the family into the unknown, with no history of deafness in the family.
The NDCS helped the Neeshams as they came to terms with the diagnosis and provided crucial support throughout this difficult period and have continued to do so for the last seven years.
Paul, who is also dad to Adam, 11, and lives in Tunstall, said: “This charity is very close to my heart as when my son Jack was born, we as a family were told the unexpected diagnosis that he was born profoundly deaf.
“This was an incredibly difficult time, understanding the diagnosis, with non-stop hospital appointments, worrying about Jack’s future and all whilst trying to accept and begin an extremely emotional journey.
“To help come to terms with this diagnosis, the NDCS were on hand from the very beginning to help us as a family.
“We were, and continue to be, supported by a fantastic NDCS Family Officer, given excellent information and guidance and introduced to other families with deaf children, enabling us to share experiences.
“Without the help of this crucial resource we as a family wouldn’t have known where to begin.
“The NDCS has been and will continue to be an amazing charity to us.
“By doing the London Marathon and raising vital funds, I want to give back to the NDCS so they can continue to help other families as much as possible, who are just starting out on their journey, like they helped us as a family from the very beginning of our journey.”
Jack, seven, is now a pupil at St Mary’s RC Primary in Meadowside, a mainstream school where he is learning alongside his hearing peers.
His dad says he is “thriving for the love of sound” after a undergoing a cochlear implant procedure when he was one-year-old.
The implant is an electronic medical device that replaces the function of the damaged inner ear.
Unlike hearing aids, which make sounds louder, cochlear implants do the work of damaged parts of the inner ear (cochlear) to provide sound signals to the brain.
Paul added: “I like to challenge myself, but this is an incredibly difficult one for me personally. “But I’m determined to conquer this to help raise vital funds for this amazing charity.”