A few months ago, we first introduced you to Shannon and her daughter Ava. Shannon took the time to tell us about her journey in finding out that Ava had hearing loss and what came after. Today, we’re excited to share another milestone in Shannon and Ava’s lives, as told by Melissa Tumblin, Founder of Ear Community.
Meet Ava Katuszonek, an adorable little three year old girl who was born with Microtia and Atresia of her right ear. Ava is a very happy little girl who enjoys playing with friends and is excited to learn the alphabet and begin reading. However, when Ava was about one year old, her mom, Shannon, began noticing her struggling with her hearing. Ava wasn’t always responding to Shannon’s voice when she would call for her. Two years ago, Ava and her parents, Paul and Shannon, attended an Ear Community Microtia and Atresia picnic in Pleasanton, California where they were given the opportunity to learn more about bone conduction hearing devices. Ava’s parents tried to obtain a BAHA for little Ava as soon as they could, but their insurance plan under Kaiser Permanente denied their coverage for a BAHA. Ava’s mother, Shannon, also did not realize there were many options available on the market for BAHAs. Now knowing this information, Ava’s parents continued appealing with their insurance provider in order to help Ava hear better with a BAHA.
As Shannon struggled with the uncertainty of learning about Ava’s condition and researching solutions, life took another unexpected turn. Shannon’s husband and Ava’s father, Paul, passed away unexpectedly.
“I remember receiving a call from Ava’s mother, Shannon, asking me if I had a picture that I had taken of the three of them at the [Ear Community] picnic and if she could have a copy because she wanted to keep some recent memories of Paul,” said Melissa Tumblin, Founder of Ear Community.
But, Shannon didn’t stand down in the face of challenge. She’s continued to fight to get Ava what she needs in order to hear well and thrive—making those dreams of learning her alphabet and to read come true.
On September 20, 2014, Ava was fitted with her new Oticon Medical Ponto Plus system.
“Ava just loves it and thinks it is so exciting and something special. Thank you to Dr. Regina Talbert in Bluefield, Virginia for helping program and fit Ava with her new processor, Shannon says. “Thank you also to Lindzee Nunez Weeks of Oticon Medical for helping make sure Dr. Talbert had everything she needed for little Ava’s fitting!”
“Ear Community wishes to say a very special thank you to Alan Raffauf, Vice President of Marketing of Oticon Medical, for donating this hearing device to Ear Community so that the foundation could help Ava.”
Read more about Shannon and Ava’s story here. Have questions for Shannon? Let us know in the comments section below, and we’d be happy to pass them along. Looking to connect with Shannon, Melissa and a community of others? Join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter.