Gift of hearing for Hebburn youngster – a year after brother underwent same surgery

Stefan and Milly Gallagher with children Skye (back), Curtis and Poppy.
Stefan and Milly Gallagher with children Skye (back), Curtis and Poppy.
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Little Poppy Gallagher and her family are hoping she has been given the perfect present this Christmas – the gift of hearing.

The one-year-old is the second in the otherwise all-hearing family to suffer from sensorineural hearing loss.

Skye, centre, has helped with Curtis and Poppys development by learning sign language.

Skye, centre, has helped with Curtis and Poppys development by learning sign language.

Just before Christmas she underwent bilateral cochlear implant surgery - a year after her brother Curtis, three, had the same procedure.

Poppy’s inplants will be turned on in early January, and it is hoped she will be able to hear and communicate much better.

Her hearing had been extremely limited before the operation.

Curtis, meanwhile, was unable to hear anything at all before undergoing his procedure but, over the last year, that has improved, and he is now able to communicate with parents Milly and Stefan.

It’s a life-changing thing and to think that both of them could, in time, hear, is massive for us

Milly Gallagher

Milly, 25, of Jervis Street, Hebburn, has hailed the life-changing impact it has had on both children.

She said: “Curtis recently told us that he loved us, which was such a big moment for us.

“His speech therapist would have liked him to progress a bit quicker than he has but he’s much better than he was and can hear us now.

“We’re hoping that Poppy will progress much quicker, because she was younger when she had the inplants fitted, and could hear a little before the operation.

“It’s a life-changing thing and to think that both of them could, in time, hear, is massive for us.”

Over the last year, the Gallaghers have faced repeated trips to hospital as Curtis’ progress has been monitored.

They are now set for the same process with Poppy, who has also been unable to speak since birth.

Poppy and Curtis’ sister Skye, five, was born without the condition, and Milly has praised her role at home.

She said: “Skye has helped out a lot with sign language, and has been helping to teach Poppy how to sign.

“When Curtis had his operation, she got a shock, but she knew what to expect with Poppy and has been a big help.

“When Curtis was born with the condition, it was such a shock for us, because no one in the family had deafness.

“I was devastated and found it really difficult to deal with, but when Poppy was born, we were used to having a deaf baby so we knew what to expect.

“We’re now just really hoping that Curtis continues to progress, and that the operation was a success for Poppy.”