Hear & Say | Antica's Charity

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It has become the 'done' thing for businesses to align themselves with a charity— as they should. But often their charities are selected impersonally, where the staff are distant from the cause their company supports. For me, and Antica as an extension of myself, this couldn't be further from the truth. I have chosen a charity that has supported my family through difficult times; a charity that I champion every year and will continue to do so.
So let me tell you about Hear and Say.
My first child was born twenty-three years ago and had all the bits and bobs he was supposed to— ten fingers, ten toes, hit all the developmental milestones. Until he was about 4 months old. I used to pride myself in my ability to vacuum loudly and not wake him, how I could make a cacophony of sound from the kitchen but he wouldn't stir. Perfect, too perfect. But then it progression— my voice wouldn't soothe him, he would fret thinking I wasn't in the room. He was eventually diagnosed with profound hearing loss at eight and a half months old, and our world was turned upside down.
'Deafness' was a word I hadn't given much thought towards, something I had just assumed could be fixed with sign language and had little impact on how a person lived their life. But now that someone of my own flesh and blood was diagnosed with this impairment, I began to fully appreciate the difficulties and nuances of raising a deaf child. I thought about how different my life would have been had my education, social life and career been inhibited by restricted communication, about how far I'd come and whether it would have been possible without the ability to hear. I wanted my child to have the choice, the opportunity to learn different languages, to hear music and the voices of his own future loved ones some day.
We found the Hear and Say Centre at the recommendation of our early intervention provider, who offered us hope that our baby would become part of the same hearing world we lived in, that my child would grow up enjoying the same songs (or not) that I loved, be able to hear my voice. It soon transpired that he would require surgery to have a cochlear implant, after which, we were able to spend the time teaching our son how to listen and speak— something that, for a time, I thought we would never have the opportunity to do.
Skipping ahead a few years, and as our sons' speech was beginning to develop, we decided to complete our family with another baby, but knew that there was a chance that our second child would also be born with profound deafness. But we had experienced the marvels of modern medicine, and the support from Hear and Say, and felt no determent. Our daughter was born four and a half years later, profoundly deaf, her cochlear implant matching her brothers. My children can both speak and hear perfectly, have attended mainstream schools, completed their education and are now functional young adults.
For their help and support during a worrying time, and for aiding my children to be able to hear, Hear & Say is my pet charity to which I owe so much. My husband and I feel passionately about what they have given to us, and we wish to give back to them. 
Each year myself and two other mums host the Ladies Long Lunch, in aid of Hear & Say to shine a light on the work the wonderful team do for QLD children who are born deaf: a gift that keeps on giving from infancy onwards, allowing for deaf children to take their place in the hearing world.
There are several ways that you can help us raise some funds for their incredible cause:
Donate to the Ladies Long Lunch box instore
Participate in our loud shirt day on Friday 22nd of October (wear your loudest shirt and have your friends sponsor you)
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Our Antica staff will participate on Loud Shirt Day as well, serving you in their most eye-wateringly vivid tees, and you can make a donation in-store in solidarity and appreciation for Helen's iconic pineapple shirt). 
Hear and Say will also be manning  the gift wrapping stations at Toombul at XMAS time, with donations made with each purchase!
Or, as always, visit their website and get in touch with the team to make a generous donation directly. 
Thanks to Hear & Say, twenty-three years later, my son can call me, overwhelmed, and tell me about how cochlear implants and their modern Bluetooth capabilities allowed him to hear Dire Straits more clearly than he ever had before.

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