Emma Shaw and daughter Frankee-Lee leave for California today for an operation they hope will end Frankee-Lee’s deafness.
Emma Shaw and daughter Frankee-Lee leave for California today for an operation they hope will end Frankee-Lee’s deafness. Contributed

Frankee-Lee's chance to hear

TODAY Emma Shaw and her three-year-old daughter Frankee-Lee woke at 5am to prepare for the 11am flight to California that will transform Frankee-Lee's life.

This week Emma, the mother of six, said she was feeling a little nervous, but at the same time eager to be taking the first step in having her youngest child overcome deafness.

After a little less that 12 months of fundraising, the Sunshine Coast community has raised the $50,000 needed to send the child to a Californian ear specialist, who will perform the first of two operations to create what Frankee-Lee wasn't born with - external ear drums and canals.

"They will be drilling the canals, and using skin grafts from her skull to line the canals," Emma said.

The eardrums will be made with skin grafts from the inside of her skull.

Emma said despite this, her daughter's inner ear was perfect and she was currently hearing through a bone conductor hearing aid, which fits as a band around her head.

"The surgeon said that because of this, the operation has a 90% chance of success," Emma said.

Emma and Frankee-Lee will be travelling with another Sunshine Coast mother, Michelle, and her three-year- old daughter Lucy Day, who will undergo the same operation.

"It's called the buddy scheme," Emma said.

The children's operations will be performed just 24 hours apart. Their hospital stay will be between 24 to 48 hours and then they will be outpatients, with regular antibiotic flushes administered at the hospital for the next month.

On the way home a trip to Disneyland will be a welcome reprieve from the ordeal.

However, a second operation in the United States will be needed to complete the procedure. Emma said she was grateful for the fundraising that had allowed the operation, but she would have to do it all over again for the next operation in about a year.

If you have fundraising ideas email Emma on: emma.blunstone@bigpond.com.au.


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