School raises $40k for deaf teacher
Tue, 19 Feb 2013 11:33a.m.
By Thomas Mead
A deaf Christchurch teacher has received $40,000 in donations toward an operation that will help her regain her hearing.
Alice Woodcock looks set to be back in the classroom at Mairehau Primary School as early as next term after a whirlwind fundraiser - which included a single donation of more than $20,000.
The 34-year-old says she can’t believe the generosity of so many.
“I feel incredibly overwhelmed. I never imagined it would get this big,” she says. “I am in awe of all the people that have reached out to help.”
Ms Woodcock lost her hearing suddenly, in a strange set of circumstances over the school holidays.
The well-loved teacher was born with limited hearing, but lost what she had over four days – and doctors don’t know why.
The sudden loss forced Ms Woodcock out of the classroom and onto a waiting list for medical intervention.
But that situation was reversed by staff at Mairehau Primary, who set up a fundraiser to gain the $40,000 needed for two cochlear implants.
Principal John Bagma couldn’t believe the widespread generosity as people heard about Ms Woodcock’s story.
"We had some from in the school but we've had [donations] from all over, I've had an email from somebody in Chicago, somebody in Australia donating and the money keeps rolling in," he says.
"Just the generosity of people - we know this is going to make a difference to her life, let alone all the kids who are going to benefit from her classes."
The effort was spearheaded by students who pitched ideas to school staff and took part in raffles, Ms Woodcock says.
“The students have been incredible, all of them have pitched in to help in a variety of ways from donating their pocket money to selling cupcakes,” she says.
“Their support has meant the world to me, it tells me what an impact I have had on them as their teacher - little do they realise that they have had a big impact on me.”
While the teacher is eligible for one Government-funded cochlear implant, the donations will fund a second. The implants will help Ms Woodcock's ears filter out sounds and establish where a noise is coming from – essential elements for teaching a class full of children.
Buildtech Director Israel Cooper, whose company was behind the single largest donation of $20,000, says the teacher's story touched everyone in their office.
"When we heard her story, we thought 'yes, it's a lot of money', but in the scheme of things it's actually not a lot of money if you can restore someone's hearing and their livelihood," he says.
"[She will] continue to impact on so many kids for so many more years. It did really seem like a no brainer to us."
Mr Cooper hasn't met the teacher yet but says the whole company would love to, once the rush of the fundraiser dies down.
Ms Woodcock is scheduled to receive both implants on Thursday and school staff are hoping she will be back in the class by next term.
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22/02/2013 4:38:21 p.m.
Jeanni Tiedje wrote:
Alice, I am so happy you have so many special friends so willing to help you out. I am Chicago suburbanite living only minutes from O'Hare Airport. I was sick during summer of '08, and the medical staff used a powerful antibiotic at a level much greater than normal to save my like and keep my organs from failing. I woke up from a 3-day coma with only a tiny bit of hearing left in 1 ear. I was fortunate to be able to get 1st CI in 2009, and 2nd in January of 2011. Hearing isn't quite the same as it was before I got sick, but I was able to hear my 7th grade nephew's class concert, I was able to hear "Wicked" at the Kennedy Center in DC, I have traveled by plane by myself 3x without much problem, and so much more! I have met many wonderful people thru an organization called Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) her on FB! Hope you conider checking them out--thet are all across the country helping people to improve their hearing loss with info about hearing loss, rehab after CI implants, helping those with hearing loss obtain unformation about working, raising a family, scholarships for people w/hearing loss, assistance in adapting the work place or classrom for people with hearing loss, and so much more! There are alarm clocks and fire alarms/Co2 alarms, doorbells, special phones, and lots of tnfo about hearing assistive devices. Members unclude medical personell at all levels, teachers, students, homemakers, hi tech people ranging in age from teens thru Grear Grandparents. both males and females. Check HLAA out-perhaps they will be able to help you in some way---or you can share experiences w/others who have gotten BAHAS or CIs or hearing aidse. Check it out here on Facebook!
20/02/2013 9:33:27 a.m.
Joanna Kuriger wrote:
I know there are many others currently trying to find the funds for a 2nd implant, maybe this wonderful story could be used to high-light the other families and individuals in this situation. My daughter has 2 implants and 6 years ago 2 wonderful organisations helped us to fundraiser over half the money needed. It would be great to give more people this opportunity of bilateral hearing.
Thank you to all those who see CI's as a worthy recipient of there hard earnt donations, we are certainly very grateful.
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