Five-year-old Billy Cairns will have his bilateral cochlear implant operation tomorrow (Wednesday) after a successful national campaign.
Billy’s mother, Deanna, was a member of the Happy New Ear group who campaigned for the bilateral implants for children who are deaf or have hearing difficulties.
After months of campaigning, the HSE allocated €3.22m to start the bilateral cochlear implant programme.
At the moment, Billy has an implant in his left ear.
Tomorrow, the implant will be inserted into his right ear. Surgeons in Beaumont will insert the implant into Billy’s ear and connect it to the nerves.
“The campaign was worth it,” Deanna told The Democrat.
“It was a long road, but we can see the results now.
“We were delighted when we got the call from the doctor to say the operation was this week.
“I didn’t think it would be this early, but I am not complaining.”
The three hour operation will be inten se and Billy will spend a number of weeks recovering. The swelling takes around four to six weeks to heal.
“He has come a long way. He has battled hard and is improving every day,” said Deanna.
Already she has seen a tremendous improvement in his speech following the first implant.
“With the second implant, he will develop further,” she explained.
“He is able to communicate much better than and that can only get better.”
Billy will start primary school in the Realt na Mara on the 28 August.
“Things are working out so perfect for Billy,” said Deanna.
“He will get his operation and then the implant will be switched on just before he goes to school.
“We had a meeting with Billy’s teacher and his assistant and they are looking forward to working with Billy.
“He is excited about meeting new friends and learning.”
Meanwhile, Denise McShane will find out an appointment date for her daughter Erin today (Tuesday).
Surgeons are preforming operations on children who urgently need the implants and also the backlog of patients.
The Happy New Ear campaign was started in January 2013 when local parents established the group to lobby the Government and HSE to implant the programme.
The group became a force to be reckoned with, as hundreds of families in similar situations across the country joined the campaign.