According to a WANE15 report, the first thing 7-year-old Jenri Rivera heard was his family’s voices over Skype after his new cochlear implant was activated.
Rivera’s journey began three years ago — when he met Erin Van Oordt, a registered nurse, who was visiting Guatemala on a mission trip.
“There was something special about him from the beginning,” Van Oordt told WANE15.
“I started talking to him, and he couldn’t hear me. I knew my Spanish wasn’t that bad, so I started asking around and they said he hasn’t heard since he was little. I said we need to figure this out, and that’s when we started the whole process.”
Van Oordt reached out to the Fort Wayne nonprofit Ray of Hope Medical Missions, which organized everything from Rivera’s medical visa to the procedure itself.
Each part of the process was fueled by donations, THV11 reported, including $40,000 worth of equipment from Advanced Bionics.
Doctors are working with Rivera to help him adapt to his loud new world, and he’ll remain in the U.S for a few more months as he learns to understand what he’s hearing.
“I had a flashback to the first time I met him, when he couldn’t hear me, and he could this time,” Van Oordt told WANE15. “Everything we’ve done in the past three years came flooding back. It was all worth it.”
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