Family pays to help girl hear

Frankee-Lee Shaw.
Frankee-Lee Shaw. Contributed

EMMA Shaw knew there was something wrong with her sixth child not long after she was born.

"She failed four hearing tests," Mrs Shaw said.

But hospital staff in Tasmania refused to take her seriously, arguing it was probably "glue ear".

Five months later the family still had concerns when they noticed their adorable girl, Frankee-Lee, appeared to be lip-reading.

Again, Mrs Shaw was told to relax.

"So we moved to Noosa," she said.

At last doctors were able to diagnose what was thought to be nigh impossible. Little Frankee-Lee was born without ear canals.

Surgery is available which will give Frankee-Lee a 90% chance of being able to hear normally.

But the "best surgeon for this in the world" is in America.

The gift of hearing so many take for granted comes with a huge price tag for Frankee-Lee.

About $100,000 is needed for two operations, airfares and accommodation.

Frankee-Lee is now two-and-a-half years old. She is bright and bubbly but also shy for a sixth child.

Even without an eardrum she has the ability to hear blurry sounds "through her head".

She can also hear properly with the use of a hearing aid attached to a headband.

The surgery will change her life.

"They will drill into her skull and make a new ear canal," Mrs Shaw said.

"They will take a skin graft off her head and cut in behind her eyebrow and take sticky residue to create new ear drums."

Frankee-Lee's first surgery is scheduled for September 18, and 12 months later she has to return to have the second ear done.

Tewantin-Noosa RSL is hosting the Frankee-Lee's Hearing Spree Auction on Saturday from 6pm, with auctions at 7.30pm and 9pm to help the family reach the $100,000 goal.

Signed and framed ARL jerseys, donated by the Tewantin Noosa RSL, will be up for grabs as well as limited edition bottles of rum and a holiday to Flinders Island .

"Many sports memorabilia including a Black Caviar whip will be available as well as raffles for a television and about 90 other items," Mrs Shaw said.

If you can't make it on Saturday, but you still want to hep Frankee-Lee, contact Emma Shaw on 0428 313 932.

Topics:  america family health hearing surgery

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