Fund set up to help little Heti to hear for first time
A LITTLE girl from Carmarthen who was born profoundly deaf has started speaking to her parents for the first time thanks to a pioneering operation.
Heti Williams, of Penbryn Avenue, was the first child in Wales to receive a rare specialist implant to help her hear.
Now her parents, family and friends are raising money for her to undergo private therapy.
And three-year-old Heti is already responding well.
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Mum Elin Williams said: "Heti has started to vocalise, she can say bye bye and mam."
Heti underwent a seven-hour operation at Manchester's Children's Hospital last year to insert the implant.
"We were sent to a cochlea implant centre in Cardiff where Heti had an MRI scan," she explained.
"We found out she was not a candidate for the usual implant as she does not have auditory nerves."
Mrs Williams said the family were referred to a doctor in Manchester.
After doing research and meeting a family from London who had a child who had undergone the operation her parents decided to proceed.
"It was quite a high risk, it is basically brain surgery," said Mrs Williams. "It was a seven to eight-hour operation."
Now Heti is receiving specialist auditory verbal therapy at a private clinic in Oxfordshire, to help her make the most of hearing with her new implant.
This treatment will cost the Williams family a total of £9,000 for the two-year programme.
Although Mrs Williams and her husband Rhys have been funding the therapy themselves with the help from other family members — they are now looking for ways to raise money to pay for the rest of it.
Heti's uncle and godfather, Jon Owen, from Bronwydd, will be taking on the notoriously difficult Marathon Eryri next week to raise money for the therapy.
Mr Owen will be running the 26-mile race on Saturday.
He said: "It is amazing to see the difference this therapy is making already to Heti so that's why I was so eager to help raise some money so that she can continue to have access to this service.
"I am really looking forward to the challenge of the marathon and I hope that lots of people will help in my goal to raise money for Heti."
Mrs Williams added: "This therapy is very expensive and we don't receive any funding for it so we are very grateful to Jon for running the marathon to raise funds for Heti's Fund, which we have set up to help fund the therapy."
Heti's previous school, Y Cam Cynta Day Nursery in Peniel, Carmarthen, raised more than £450 for Heti's therapy this year. Mr and Mrs Williams are also looking to raise funds for the National Deaf Children Society.